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Small wine bottle with painted design


Artwork Details

Small wine bottle with painted design
15th century - 16th century
stoneware with iron oxide painting over white slip under colorless glaze
5 9/16 x 4 3/4 x 4 3/4 in. (14 x 12 x 12 cm)
Gift of Bruce and Inta Hasenkamp and Museum purchase made possible by Elder and Mrs. Sang-Yong Nam


March 28, 2009
This small bottle is typical of wares produced at kilns on Mount Gyeryong in Chungcheong province in south–central Korea. The top half of its dark gray body was dipped into white slip and painted in underglaze iron–brown. A Japanese ceramicist excavated the kiln that produced this object in 1927, when the peninsula was under Japanese colonial rule (1910–1945). The bottles, jars, and bowls that came out of the Gyeryong kilns were avidly acquired by Japanese collectors, who admired their rough clay bodies, casually potted forms, and bold underglaze iron–brown-painted decorations of fishes, plants, and abstract flourishes, as seen here.
The relaxed, quiet dignity of this bottle is ideal for serving sake during the formal meal that accompanies a Japanese tea ceremony. The mouth of the bottle was dipped in iron, which adds visual weight to the narrow upper form and balances with the broad gray base.
(Label for UMMA Korean Gallery Opening Rotation, March 2009)

Subject Matter:

Bottle for sake or wine with abstract design.

Physical Description:

Stoneware bottle with partial white slip extending up from an incised band near the widest stretch of the body upwards to the lip. Another band is incised just above the former, creating a two-band pattern that is repeated again at the neck. Between these pairs of bands is an abstract design painted in iron-oxide, creating a brown hue against the white slip. The mouth of the bottle is also coated in this reddish-brown hue. The base of the piece is left its natural gray-brown color.

This is a buncheong bottle produced at a kiln in Hakbong-ri, Gongju-gun, Chungcheongnamdo. The mouth curves inwards slightly, while the body is swollen. The upper part of the body is decorated with scrolls in underglaze iron-brown on a thick coat of white slip, while the neck and the middle of the body feature horizontal lines incised through the slip. The scroll designs illustrate the characteristic brisk brush strokes that were commonly found in the iron-painted buncheong ware of the 16th century, and they are somewhat simplified, creating a semi-abstract form of expression.
[Korean Collection, University of Michigan Museum of Art (2014) p.152]

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