15th century, Joseon Dynasty (1392 - 1897)
Stoneware with dipped white slip decoration.
This style of Buncheong Stoneware was produced exclusively in the Boseong area of Korea, located on the south-west of the peninsula. It is a style which was developed from Goryeo celadon, during the early Joseon Dynasty, specifically from around 1470-1500. The Boseong Deombeong-i was created originally to resemble the white porcelains which the ruling families used, which the lower strata of society where prohibited from owning. Thus, among the lower classes, this 'replacement porcelain' was extremely popular'.
The Boseong Deombeong-i is a stoneware dipped multiple times in a thick white slip; often two to three dippings and subsequent firings are required. The technique cannot be traced to any other ceramic tradition, and is perhaps one of the most famous and mysterious domestic Korean ceramic styles.
When water is placed inside this bowl, something amazing happens - small pinholes which from in the white slip during the firing process, act as breathing holes for the clay underneath. So, when water is poured into the bowl, small darkened shapes begin to emerge on the surface of the bowl - known in Korea as 'mul-kkot', or 'water flowers'.
This piece offers insight into the stratas of Korean culture which have been forgotten - the general populace whose lives do not make up history, unlike their elite counterparts. The modesty reflected in this bowl does not stem from the pressures of unattainable levels of moral and virtue, but instead stems from the genuine simplicity in its craft, design and usage.
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