Korean Ceramics from the Asia Society Museum Collection


The three ceramics on view in the Asia Society Visitor Center come from the Asia Society Museum Collection of Asian and Asian American art.

By the early sixth century, craftsmen had already been creating ceramic vessels in Korea for 7,500 years. It was during the Three Kingdoms period (57 BCE–668 CE) that Koreans first produced gray stoneware, which potters threw on a wheel and fired at a high temperature. It was not until the production of highly refined glazed stoneware during the Goryeo dynasty (918–1392), however, that Korean ceramics became internationally renowned for their extraordinary craftsmanship. The elegant “kingfisher” blue prunus vase (maebyong) shown here showcases the glaze for which Goryeo ceramics have been prized for centuries.

During the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910), as tastes shifted, underglaze cobalt blue porcelains became popular in Korea. Symbols of longevity were common, including the pine tree, crane, and moon. The seemingly casual rendering and airy placement of these motifs on ceramics has a particularly Korean sensibility.

The installation coincides with the exhibition Nam June Paik: Becoming Robot, on view in the second and third floor galleries from September 5, 2014, through January 4, 2015.

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