Skip to main content

Cup with incised fret pattern at rim and peony sprays on the side


Artwork Details

Cup with incised fret pattern at rim and peony sprays on the side
early 12th century
stoneware with incised decoration under celadon glaze
2 3/8 x 3 x 3 in. (6 x 7.6 x 7.6 cm)
Gift of Bruce and Inta Hasenkamp and Museum purchase made possible by Elder and Mrs. Sang-Yong Nam


Early Goryeo celadons seem to substantiate the theory that early celadon was meant to look like jade—they are plain and smooth, without patterns or incised decorations, giving them a jade-like quality. However, the Goryeo celadon technique gradually became more opulent, and wares began to include the kind of splendid incised designs seen here.
The small cup is for tea, and the abundance of tea wares—cups, bowls, saucers, pots, and ewers—dating to the early Goryeo dynasty
suggest the importance of tea drinking
among the upper class. It is thought that the development of Goryeo celadon was closely associated with tea culture because half of the celadons found in kiln waste sites from this period are tea bowls and many others seem to have been used for tea drinking as well. The practice of drinking tea probably came to Korea from China with Buddhist monks, and then became more widespread. 

Subject Matter:

Tea cup with peony and fret design.

Physical Description:

Despite some glaze runnings, this high-quality vessel serves as a ne example of the 12th and 13th century celadon that features a good quality of clay body, glazed surface and glaze color. Its outer rim has a fret-patterned band,and on the outer wall are inlaid peony spray designs in three places. The mouth rim curves inwards slightly. The foot is low and has traces of silica spur, as well as cracks in two places.
[Korean Collection, University of Michigan Museum of Art (2014) p.119]

Rounded tea bowl with celadon glaze. A lightly incised peony design is spaced along the widest stretch of the cup, and below the rim is an incised fret pattern.

Usage Rights:

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.