Maebyeong with Peony, Willow and Reed Design
Ceramics - White Porcelain
Food - Tableware - Foods and Drinks - bottle
H. 28.8cm (mouth) D. 4.8cm
- Accession Number
This style of vase with a short neck and wide, rounded shoulders curving elegantly down into a constricted waist is known as a maebyeong, which is derived from the Chinese meiping (“plum vase”). White porcelain wares of the Goryeo Dynasty often imitated the form and decoration of the celadon of the time. This white porcelain maebyeong illustrates this tendency, but it fails to fully replicate the distinctive curvilinear beauty of a celadon maebyeong. In comparison with contemporaneous celadon pieces, the curve of the body of this white porcelain maebyeong is somewhat plain and uninspiring; the slope from the midpoint to the foot is practically vertical, without the sensuous flare characteristic of celadon maebyeong. Also, overheating during the firing process produced some distortion in the lower region so that the angle of the curve around the foot is inconsistent. However, while the form of the vase may be slightly flawed, the complex inlaid designs are quite astonishing. In fact, this is the only known example of a white porcelain vessel that is inlaid with a primary layer of celadon clay, followed by areas of white clay and red ocher inlaid within the celadon clay layer. The body is divided vertically into six sections (with visible furrows marking where they join), and each section is decorated with delicate inlaid designs. First, a large diamond shape was engraved into each section and filled with a layer of celadon clay. Next, the celadon clay was inlaid with white clay and red ocher designs of peonies, lotus flowers, willows, reeds, and waterfowls. There are also two rings of lotus flowers inlaid with celadon clay respectively around the top of the shoulder and the area just above the foot. This style of white porcelain inlaid with celadon clay demonstrates the integration of white porcelain and celadon during the Goryeo Dynasty. The glaze is bluish-white, and the entire surface is covered with a network of fine hairline cracks. The inlaid red ocher within the diamond pattern has partially spread into the glaze, creating a diffuse effect.