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Lobed Lotus-Shaped Cup and Stand with incised floral patterns


Artwork Details

Lobed Lotus-Shaped Cup and Stand with incised floral patterns
12th century
stoneware with incised decoration under celadon glaze
4 3/16 x 5 3/4 x 5 3/4 in. (10.5 x 14.5 x 14.5 cm);2 3/8 x 2 7/8 x 2 7/8 in. (6 x 7.2 x 7.2 cm);2 1/16 x 5 3/4 x 5 3/4 in. (5.2 x 14.5 x 14.5 cm)
Gift of Bruce and Inta Hasenkamp and Museum purchase made possible by Elder and Mrs. Sang-Yong Nam


March 28, 2009
Like the double-gourd ewer in the gallery, this elegant wine cup and matching stand are outstanding pieces of Korean celadon. The repeating ten-lobed forms are all variations of the lotus, a Buddhist motif that was ubiquitous in the decoration of art and architecture of Goryeo. Based on a Chinese silver prototype, the complex lobed shapes were produced with ceramic molds. The barely discernable chrysanthemums and floral sprays were incised on the body before the glaze was applied. Where the glaze has collected in grooves, the celadon color appears darker; where it has thinned along the edges, the glaze appears more translucent.
When put in place, the wine cup and stand resemble a lotus emerging from a pond. In the middle of the stand is a raised circular dais carved in the shape of an inverted lotus. The cup, also in the shape of a lotus, rested on this lotus throne. Surrounding the lotus throne is the well of the stand, which is meant to catch overflows of liquid from the cup, and it appears as the watery recess of a pond. A Goryeo viewer saw these elements as cosmic: a soul (symbolized by the cup-shaped lotus) emerging in pristine beauty above the muddy waters of the mundane world (symbolized by the stand).
(Label for UMMA Korean Gallery Opening Rotation, March 2009)

Subject Matter:

Lotus blossom shaped cup and stand with gently incised chrysanthemum design.

Physical Description:

Stoneware lotus-shaped cup and stand with celadon glaze. The cup is shaped in the style of a ten-lobed lotus blossom. On each lobe lies lightly incised chrysanthemum decoration. The cup rests on a pedestal in the design of an inverted lotus flower, which rises from the dish-like base of the stand, mounted on a fluted foot.

This is a flower-shaped cup and stand which offers a good demonstration of the formal splendor of 12th century Goryeo celadon despite yellow-borwn coloration in places. Both the cup and stand have ten lobes and they were produced using molds. On each of the ten lotus petals of the cup and stand is incised a chrysanthemum, and another chrysanthemum design is incised on the upper part of the stand where the cup rests. Around the pedestal on where the cup sits is a band of inverted lotus petals. Each foot of the cup and stand has refractory spur marks.
[Korean Collection, University of Michigan Museum of Art (2014) p.125]

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