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Spotlight on the Collection: July 2017

/ Spotlight on the Collection

Eighteenth century
Korean, Joseon period (1392-1910)
Porcelain with underglaze blue decoration
11 ½ x 11 ¼ inches
Museum purchase with funds from the estate of Carolyn Quinn 2004.2

Jars decorated with cut out panels filled with landscape pictures are some of the most charming wares of the Joseon period (1392-1910). Court painters were sent to the official kilns to decorate royal porcelains, and the landscapes painted in underglaze blue on these wares often closely resemble paintings done on paper and silk at the time.

This jar is an exceptional piece not only for its large size, but also for the quality of the painting. The neck is decorated with beautifully painted floral and Korean youi (Chinese ruyi) scepter designs. However, the main decoration is two panels on the body of the jar that are painted with scenes from the famous Chinese series of poems “Eight Views of the Xiao and Xiang River.” These poems are named after the two famous tributaries that flow into one of China’s largest lakes, West Lake. The scenery around this confluence has been celebrated in poems and paintings since the Song dynasty (1127-1279).