Exhibitions: Arts of Asia

Celadon Ewer

Celadon ceramics of the Koryŏ dynasty (918–1392) are among the most celebrated works of Korean art. Their luminous green color is the result of iron in both the clay and the glaze oxidizing in a reduction kiln.

The Brooklyn ewer is a world-famous piece, celebrated for its dynamic naturalistic form, superb glaze color, and meticulous detailing. Few surviving Korean celadons can boast such elaborate and delicate carving. The body, lid, and knob of the ewer are all in the form of lotuses, and the handle is a lotus stalk tied at the top with reeds. The cover and handle were originally joined by a chain, now marked by two loops, which are placed where a gold-painted butterfly on the cover would have connected with the insect's pupa on the handle, both modeled in delicate relief. Dots of white slip accentuate the ornamental motifs, while glaze pools in the deeper carving to create a range of tones on the surface.