Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Quick Look at Korean Ceramic Styles (Part 2)

Note: This extremely brief description of Korea’s ceramic styles is not intended to be complete nor is it intended to describe in detail the many multi-faceted approaches to each of the styles mentioned.  That would take literally volumes on each of these styles.  Rather it is intended to be a very quick look at these styles so that we might be able to distinguish one from the other.
5.  Buncheong:  Buncheong is characterized by the use of white and sometimes black slip in decorating most often on a darker clay body.  Buncheong decorating processes include but are not limited to carved and inlaid slip called ‘sang hwa mun’, reverse inlay, stamped inlay, brushed on slip and dipped slip decorating processes.
These examples show a variety of Buncheong decrorating processes.  Buncheong became popular when celadon died out during the last days of the Goryeo Dynasty.  The earliest Buncheong decorations were reminicent of celadon decorations.  During its 200 year history Buncheong decorations became less complex and more natural.
These examples are by (1) and (2) Lee Kyu Tak, (3) Chan Han Bong, (4) Lee Kyu Tak, (5) Myeong Jae Hyun.
Examples of Buncheong Style follow:


6. Porcelain:  Porcelain uses a white sometimes translucent clay body that is traditionally fired to a high temperature. Typically Porcelain is glazed with a transparent glaze but contemporary porcelain is often glazed with a number of glazes that are often enhanced over a white clay body.  The most desirable porcelain pieces are those either painted with overglaze pigments or finely pierced carved.   
These porcelain works are by the artists (1) Moon Ji Young, (2) Lim Hang Teak, (3) Jeon Seong- Keun and (4) Lee Kyu Tak.
Examples or Porcelain Style follow: 

7. Stoneware: Stoneware utilizes a number of glazes and often decorating processes over a non-porcelainous clay body. Typically a stoneware clay body is more rough and most often fires in color to tints and shades of brown.  It is fired at higher temperatures.  Although some Korean tea ware is fired at what we call intermediate stoneware temperatures in the West.   
These stoneware examples are by (1) Cheon Han Bong, (2) Kin Jong Hun, (3) Park Jong Il, (4) Kim Jong Hun, (5) Park Kyung Jae and (6) Oh Sung Teak.
Examples of Stoneware follow:

8.  Contemporary:  The words ‘contemporary’ and ‘modern’ are rather synonymous and it was a coin flip decision to use ‘contemporary’ meaning in this case ‘current’, ‘latest’ or leading edge.  One could argue that anything made recently is ‘contemporary’ but that leads to a circular argument that I don’t want to have.  Often ‘contemporary’ ceramics like much contemporary art has its roots in historical work. 
Contemporary work can follow or break the 'rules' as the artist sees appropriate.
I have selected, for now, just two artists to represent the Contemporary Style Lee Kang Hyo who is inspired by buncheong and onggi and Shin Sangho who has been inspired by African sculpture and other works.  (1)(2) Lee Kang Hyo, (3) and (4) Shin Sangho. 
Following are examples of Contemporary Korean ceramics. 

The ceramic style examples in Part 1 and Part 2 are not meant to show all the possible variations of these eight ceramic styles.  Rather they were simply selected to show some variety within the styles. 
The styles in Part 1 span the early part of Korea’s ceramic history essentially from 57 BCE to 1392 CE when celadon died out and buncheong began.  It also marks the transition between The Goryeo Dynasty and the Joseon Dynasty sometimes called the Yi Dynasty and a major change in the religious/philosophical direction of Korea from Buddhism to Confucianism.  The Joseon Dynasty that officially lasted from 1392 CE to 1910 CE was not kind to tea in Korea but ceramics survived and with it the development of Korean chawan and much more.
The styles of Korean ceramics can be told as history lessons reflected in the political and cultural changes in Korea. 
Work by each of the artists represented in In both Part 1 and Part 2 (1) through (7) can be acquired through us.  Contact us for details.  We are also able to contact the contemporary artists (8) if there is serious interest.
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Chick here to go to Part 1

Now that you have seen a few images by various Korean artists here and in Part 1, on which artist(s) would you like me to create a more in-depth post?  Please message your selections to me on my Facebook Page.  A link to my email is above.  

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