The history of Korean ceramics dates all the way back to 5000BC with early earthenware pottery. With over seven thousand years of practice, it’s no wonder they are considered some of the finest artists around!
Combining influences from Japanese styles and Chinese techniques like kiln firing, Korean pottery saw drastic changes which led to distinct styles during the Silla period, as well as the Goryeo and Joseon dynasties. The last of these, spanning from 1392 to the late nineteenth century, is considered the golden age for the country.
The Celadon style of wares, also known as greenware, was prevalent for much of this time, being considered typical of Korean style in the Goryeo period and maintaining its popularity into the Joseon. The distinctive jade green colouring, with a transparent glaze, is used across earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain. Many featured simple Buddhist designs like willow trees and lotus flowers.
Joseon saw the growth of white porcelain, driven by the desire for simplicity from Confucianism, and became known as a royal art form. As such, it was popular throughout the imperial kilns of the country.
This drive for simplicity continues today with Korean masters who strive for natural, spiritual pieces made using traditional techniques. Our featured artist, Eung Taek Lee, is one such master. He hails from Icheon, the heart of the recent Korean ceramics revival aided through promotion from the American Museum of Ceramic Art. A highly traditional craftsman, he makes all his pieces by hand to ensure their individuality and quality.