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White Porcelain Square Water Dropper with Openwork Cloud and Crane Design


Artwork Details

White Porcelain Square Water Dropper with Openwork Cloud and Crane Design
late 19th century
porcelain with copper underglaze painting
2 3/8 x 3 3/16 x 3 9/16 in. (6 x 8 x 9 cm)
Gift of Bruce and Inta Hasenkamp and Museum purchase made possible by Elder and Mrs. Sang-Yong Nam


A crane silhouetted against an openwork background soars across the top of this square water dropper, while clouds painted with underglaze copper adorn three sides. A lizard climbs up the fourth side, his open mouth forming the spout. The extraordinary workmanship of this piece suggests that it was made for a special patron.
Maribeth Graybill, The Enduring Art of the Korean Potter, December 12, 2004-November 6, 2005

Subject Matter:

The crane is a symbol of nobility, spirituality, and long life, making it a creature of symbolic significance to a scholar or the patron who commissioned the water dropper.

Physical Description:

A square porcelain water dropper. The porcelain is white and there is an image of a lizard or dragon on the top. Clouds are depicted on the sides with the image of a flying crane on the front of the square. The white glaze has chipped of or is thin in places, revealing the copper underglaze.

This is a cubic water dropper featuring an openwork design of a crane with wings spread on the upper face. The spout is in the shape of a newt; it is designed in the way that water drops from the mouth of the newt. The side walls feature cloud designs in copper red which were blackened during firing. The entire foot was glazed, but the glaze was wiped away from the foot, on which were placed fine sand support during firing.
[Korean Collection, University of Michigan Museum of Art (2014) p.182]

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