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Local museum to exhibit exquisite iron-painted celadon from 12th century

2017/03/20 16:40

By Woo Jae-yeon

SEOUL, March 20 (Yonhap) -- Unlike celadon in a jade-green glaze with flowers and crane patterns that most Koreans are familiar with, iron-painted celedon are decorated with darker, bolder and more decorative patterns and exude more down-to-earthiness.

While the former was used in royal palaces and upper-class households in the past, the latter was enjoyed more widely among middle-class families.

In "Iron, Blooms into Flower," Horim Museum in Seoul will present some 220 pieces of celadon pottery painted with iron paint from the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). It is the museum's first since 1996 when it held a special exhibition that shed light on the charm of the lesser-known historic artifacts.

For the past 20 years, the museum has "aggressively" collected iron-painted celadon of which usage varies from a jar to a flower pot to a washbasin to Korean drum "janggo," the museum said.

"Celadon Maebyeong," an underglazed iron-pained celadon with inlaid floral design from the 13 century, is being displayed at Horim Museum in southern Seoul on March 20, 2017. (Yonhap) "Celadon Maebyeong," an underglazed iron-pained celadon with inlaid floral design from the 13 century, is being displayed at Horim Museum in southern Seoul on March 20, 2017. (Yonhap)

Celadon in iron paint are being displayed at Horim Museum on March 20, 2017. (Yonhap) Celadon in iron paint are being displayed at Horim Museum on March 20, 2017. (Yonhap)

"We've organized this exhibition to let it be known that there is another type of Goryeo celadon that few people know about or have seen," explained Yoo Jin-hyun, the curator of the exhibition, during a press briefing on Monday.

"This exhibition will show the folksy side of Goryeo celadon that has been seen as delicate and upscale," he said, adding that there are two types of coloring techniques for iron-painted celadon. One is to apply iron pigment all over a celadon and carve out the patterns, while the other is to paint over a celadon with a brush using iron paint.

According to the museum, celadon kilns that used to produce iron-painted celadon are found nationwide, suggesting they were widely used for everyday tableware and ceramic ware during that era.

They were produced in the 12th and early 13th centuries and the darker the pigment the higher the quality is, the museum said.

Among the displayed is an underglazed vase decorated with an inlaid floral design. It is the first ever found celadon vase with no glaze on it, the museum said, adding that by skipping the glaze, the vase exhibits more raw and simplistic beauty.

The exhibition opens on Tuesday and runs through Sept. 30.

Korean Janggo drums made from iron-painted celadon are displayed at Horim Museum on March 20, 2017. (Yonhap) Korean Janggo drums made from iron-painted celadon are displayed at Horim Museum on March 20, 2017. (Yonhap)

This photo shows an underglazed melon-shaped celadon ewer in iron paint on display at Horim Museum on March 20, 2017. (Yonhap) This photo shows an underglazed melon-shaped celadon ewer in iron paint on display at Horim Museum on March 20, 2017. (Yonhap)

jaeyeon.woo@yna.co.kr

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