Korean Celadon

Korean celadon, which originates from China, is characterized by its distinct and beautiful blue-green color. In Korean, it is usually referred to as “cheongja,” which literally means blue-green porcelain. I know, revolutionary.

 

 The cheongja is most prized for its calming and captivating pure color, which is said to be more beautiful the more one looks at it. Its glassy finish and jade like quality is what entices the eyes of its viewers and critics.


  These celadon works are often confused with other types of green-glazed ceramics, but one way to look for a cheongja is by its distinctive line of fine cracks called “crazing.”

If you look closely, you can see that crazing is not characterized by mere cracks in the pottery, but it has the appearance of shattered glass beneath the smooth glaze.

            At first, I believed this technique to be flaws in the pottery, but it is apparently achieved by careful firing in the kiln. Traditional cheongja is fired for a longer period of time than modern pieces of pottery, and due to that fact, many of the pieces are cracked or broken due to the heat before they even finish firing. Each celadon piece of art is carefully selected by the individual potters who scrutinize their work with utmost severity in order to present only their finest examples of beautiful celadon.

      Another technique that is commonly used by Korean celadon potters is the art of inlaying. Inlaid celadon is made by incising the desired motifs onto the surface of a vessel and filling in the area with white or red slip (clay mixture) before applying the glaze. After firing, the white slip remains the same color while the red slip turns black.

            Every step of inlaying must be perfect; the slip must not be too slippery or too thick, the incisions must not be too deep or the color will be uneven, and if the pot is heated for even a minute too long, the pot will shatter. Inlay work can be as simple as a single flower on a celadon pot, or it can be made into an extremely intricate design that only skilled artisans can create.

In the korean culture, cranes, as depicted onto this celadon vase, represented immortality.

Korean celadon pottery has always interested me, ever since I read a book called “A Single Shard” by Linda Sue Park in the third grade. I always found its aesthetics to be extremely beautiful and unique as only extremely skillful artists can produce well made celadon vases and pots, and I would say it is a bit far-fetched to think that I can ever make such a beautiful piece of art. However, when we begin to create glazes, the first color that I am going for will definitely be, without a doubt, a green-blue glaze.

 

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