Korean / Ewer / Koryo period, 11th-12th centuryKorean
Koryo period, 11th-12th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Korean
Creator Name-CRT: Korean
Title: Ewer
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1000
Creation End Date: 1199
Creation Date: Koryo period, 11th-12th century
Creation Place: Korea
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Ceramics
Materials and Techniques: Stoneware
Dimensions: H. 12 in. (30.5 cm); W. 7 3/4 in. (19.7 cm) spout to handle
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1989.002
Credit Line: Asia Society: Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Acquisitions Fund
Rights: http://www.asiasociety.org
Context: Although Korean ceramics remain relatively unknown in the West, they have long been studied in East Asia. The history of Korean ceramics can be traced back to about 5000 BCE, when simple earthenwares were made and used. Some of the most appealing and charming Korean ceramics date to the period of the Three Kingdoms (c. 57 BCE-CE 668). During this time, Korea was controlled by three or four different kingdoms: Koguryo in the north and Shilla (or Early Shilla), Paekche, and Kaya in the south. The presence in this list of Kaya, which could be called a fourth kingdom, reflects the historical fact that this small kingdom was absorbed by Shilla in about 562, a century before Shilla united the Korean peninsula and established the Unified Shilla dynasty (668-935). Although little is known about Kaya, recent archaeological discoveries indicate that many of the shapes and types of decoration found in Shilla ceramics may have originated in Kaya and were incorporated into the art of Shilla during the 6th century.

The dark stoneware body of this spouted ewer links this 11th- or 12th-century piece to the ceramics produced during the Three Kingdoms and Unified Shilla periods, but its elegant shape and precise potting typify works made during the Koryo period (918-1392). The complex gourdlike shape of the ewer and the interest in movement, seen for example in the shapes of the handle and spout, characterize the aesthetics of Koryo ceramics and distinguish these works from the bolder and squatter shapes that were preferred in the Three Kingdoms and Unified Shilla periods. Unglazed stonewares such as this ewer remain relatively unstudied, as most of the work on Koryo-period ceramics has concentrated on the development of the famous green-glazed wares.

AMICA ID: ASIA.1989.002
AMICA Library Year: 1999
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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