Korean / Storage Jar / Three Kingdoms period, Kaya or Early Shilla kingdom, c. 6th centuryKorean
Storage Jar
Three Kingdoms period, Kaya or Early Shilla kingdom, c. 6th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Korean
Creator Name-CRT: Korean
Title: Storage Jar
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 500
Creation End Date: 599
Creation Date: Three Kingdoms period, Kaya or Early Shilla kingdom, c. 6th century
Creation Place: Korea
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Ceramics
Materials and Techniques: Stoneware with areas of ash glaze
Dimensions: H. 15 3/4 in. (40 cm); D. 16 1/2 in. (41.9 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1981.002
Credit Line: Asia Society: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard L. Sneider
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 strong, taut, bulbous shape of this large storage jar is found in ceramics that have been attributed to both the Kaya and the Early Shilla kingdoms. Jars with very similar shapes have also been excavated from sites dating to the early Iron Age, in about the 3rd and 2nd centuries BCE. This jar is distinguished from earlier pieces by its thinner body, slightly rounded form, undecorated surface (with the exception of a few small areas of ash glaze), and the red and black coloration the clay acquired during firing. The thin horizontal lines on the surface were probably made when the jar was turned on the wheel. It is possible to smooth away such lines, so their presence attests to the interest in spontaneity and directness that characterizes many Korean ceramics. Similar lines are found on examples of this type excavated from both Kaya and Shilla sites, and it seems likely that this jar is an example of the continuity of ceramic forms from one period to the next.

Related Document Description: Mowry, Robert D. 'Korean Art in Western Collections: The Asia Society--The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection.' Korean Culture 3 (March 1982), pp. 8-9.
Related Document Description: Mowry, Robert D. 'Koryo Celadons.' Orientations (May 1986), p. 29.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1981.002
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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