Longquan wares exude timeless glamour
A merchant ship carrying a large quantity of Chinese celadon sank off the Korean coast in Sinan, South Jeolla Province in 1323, on the way from Ningbo, China to Kyoto, Japan. The ship was inadvertently discovered by a fisherman in 1975 some 650 years later and the site was excavated from 1976 to 1984.
Over 30,000 artifacts, including more than 20,000 ceramic pieces, of which more than 14,000 pieces were Longquan wares, were discovered at that time. Longquan wares refer to Chinese ceramics manufactured in Longquan, China, which exude the beauty of unique jade colors and shapes.
The National Museum of Korea is hol ding an exhibition to showcase the time-honored beauty of Longquan wares recovered from the Sinan shipwreck from March 22 to June 19 at the Sinan Shipwreck Collection Room in the Asia Gallery.
Longquan celadon were an important part of China’s exports while Japan was one of the major importers of items such as incense burners, teapots and cups for their tea ceremonies.
In Chinese ceramic history, celadon items from the Yuan Dynasty of China are usually large in size because Mongolians and Muslims in the region shared food carried in a large container, which reflects the cultural complexity and influences of Muslims who came to China from West Asia during the Yuan Dynasty.
The introductory part of the exhibition features various types of Longquan wares from Sinan, including dishes, bottles, incense burners, vases and water droppers.
The second section is intended to broaden understanding of the characteristics of Longquan ware through an overview of its unique colors, decoration techniques and patterns. According to the museum, the quality of Longquan celadon dramatically grew as the kilns produced the jade-green ceramics from the late Southern Song Dynasty. But the wares from the Southern Song Dynasty featured colors, while the ceramics from the Yuan period are marked with diverse patterns and shapes using various engraving techniques.
The final display shows the actual uses of Longquan wares in real life and their cultural and historical meanings. In China, the ceramics were popularized from the Northern Song Dynasty when the then retro trend affected celadon production and designs which resembled the ancient bronze wares. Many of the Longquan wares were used for decorations due to its timeless elegance and colors.
Among others a two-handled celadon vase incised with lotus designs, a celadon vase incised with peony vine designs, and a long-neck celadon vase are introduced for the first time.
For more information visit www.museum.go.kr.