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Blue-and-White Water Dropper in the Shape of a Fish


Artwork Details

Blue-and-White Water Dropper in the Shape of a Fish
late 19th century
porcelain with blue underglaze painting
1 1/16 x 3 1/16 x 3 1/16 in. (2.6 x 7.7 x 7.7 cm)
Gift of Bruce and Inta Hasenkamp and Museum purchase made possible by Elder and Mrs. Sang-Yong Nam

On Display

Not currently on display


This water dropper takes the shape of a curled fish: the air hole is tucked in the fold between the head and tail, and the spout is in the upper fin. This too was a popular design for water droppers, and the Hasenkamp-Nam collection includes a second, similar piece.
Maribeth Graybill, The Enduring Art of the Korean Potter, December 12, 2004-November 6, 2005

Subject Matter:

The shapes of water droppers often held symbolic significance. The fish represents diligence, vigilance, and academic success, making it a fitting symbol for a scholar.

Physical Description:

A round water dropper in the shape of a curled fish. There are two holes, one located in the middle, near the tail fin, and the other near the head on the dorsal fin. The fish is a white and cobalt blue color.

This is a carp-shaped water dropper produced within the vicinity of Bunwon-ri, Gwangju-si, and Yeoju-si area in Gyeonggi-do in the late 19th century. Its upper surface features a realistic carp design in relief and entirely colored with cobalt blue. Such animal-shaped vessels are simple in form, but they were esteemed by many for their auspicious meaning. The base is flat, wide, and stained by ink.
[Korean Collection, University of Michigan Museum of Art (2014) p.184]

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