Korean Ceramics

Ceramics have always been an integral part of Korean culture and an important vehicle of the Korean aesthetic. The Korean ceramics on view were made between 200 and 1900, and range from tableware and Buddhist cinerary urns made for courtiers to bowls, bottles and storage jars used by peasants. Despite great differences of age and status continuity is evident. Form tends to emerge from the dynamic of shaping rather than being imposed from the outside. Even on court wares, finish is gentle, not obsessive. The range of glaze colors is narrow and understated, complementing vivid color found elsewhere in such elements as palace and temple architecture, painting, and traditional costume. Among the first Americans to collect ceramics of the Choson period (1392-1910), Charles Lang Freer was introduced to them in the 1890s by Japanese dealers and collectors.