On View: Asian Galleries, South, 2nd floor
Koreans did not use chairs until the arrival of Western influences in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Ceramic garden seats, designed to be left outside and offering a place to rest without sitting on the wet ground, are a rare exception. The use of both iron-brown and cobalt-blue decoration on this piece is typical of Korean porcelains: blue and brown are rarely combined on Chinese wares of any period.
Porcelain with cobalt and iron decoration under glaze
early 19th century
18 1/2 x 19 3/4in. (47 x 50.2cm)
diameter at mouth: 9 1/8 in. (23.2 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Greenberg
From Accession Card:
White porcelain with cobalt and iron decoration under a clear glaze. A large porcelain Seat for a gentleman scholar's garden. Its carved, openwork decoration depicts grapevines, grape leaves and clusters of grapes. The surface of the grapes was painted with under glaze iron-brown wash. Stylized "precious things" (coins, jewels, treasure bags) a traditional Chinese motif, were drawn in under glaze cobalt blue on the border below the grapes. Grapes were a popular subject in the paintings and decorative arts of Yi Dynasty Korea. Unlike most of the other animal and plant motifs in Korean art, grapes had no auspicious or protective symbolism.
Note: the dynasty is now known as Joseon.
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