Celadon Incense Burner with Openwork
- Culture / Period
Ceramics - Celadon
National Treasure 95
- Accession Number
Widely praised for its translucent jade-colored glaze and unique inlaid designs, Goryeo celadon ware was first produced between the late 9th and early 10th centuries and reached its pinnacle in the 12th. The celadon pottery of this golden age is distinguished by elegantly brilliant surfaces and the use of a creative new inlay technique in which white and red slip is inlaid into the surface to form various designs in contrasting colors. In the mid-13th century, the quality of Goryeo celadons noticeably diminished in the wake of ongoing warfare with Mongol forces and the exquisite jade color gave way to duller green or yellow-brown finishes. However, this deterioration of Goryeo celadon ware contributed to the birth of the attractive buncheong ware of the subsequent Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910). This style of vase with a wide upper body narrowing toward the foot is called a maebyeong, from the Chinese meiping (梅瓶, “plum vase”). The delicate feminine shape of this vase made during the golden age of Goryeo celadon exemplifies the beautiful curves of Goryeo celadon. The surface is sumptuously incised with a lotus scroll design and the soft, repetitive curves of the lotus harmonize beautifully with the maebyeong shape.