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Cosmetic box with cover
9609.1-2
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

Characteristic of the Gangjin manufacture, a noted area for the production of traditional Korean celadon ware. It is inlaid in the so-called sanggam technique with white and a little clay slip. In the centre of the cover is a rosette, and around this runs a band of chrysanthemum design with small leaves and a band of lotus petals. On the side of the body and on the border of the cover run two bands of meander and a band of beaded chain design.

History of the Object
This object is typical of the celadon ware manufactured in the kilns of the Gangjin district. Goryeo celadon in the 10th-14th centuries represented a major achievement in Korean art, and have been highly prized with the subtle variations in the colours of the glaze from greyish-blue to olive-green, the elegance of their shapes and especially their inlaid (sanggam) decoration, unique in both technique and subject-matter. The celadons reflect the refined taste and pleasures of the Goryeo aristocracy. As early as the 10th century, the northern Chinese Chizhou production technique was adopted in Korea. In Busan, a kiln has been found which produced celadon ware with floral decoration painted in brown iron oxide under the glaze (cheolhoe cheongja). The brushwork of the Korean pieces has a character all its own. Goryeo ceramics reached their peak in the celadon ware of the first half of the 12th century. The shapes vary considerably, the most common forms being dishes in the form of a flower, wine ewers in the form of a melon or gourd, maebyeong vases, censers with the cover in the form of an animal and water-droppers in the form of fruit, animal or human figures. Some celadon ware of this period have plant, phoenix or dragon motifs. They include celadon roof-tiles with moulded arabesque motifs. Towards the middle of the 12th century the inlay technique used was known as sanggam. The decoration is carved or incised on the unglazed, leather-hard body, and inlaid with white or black slip. The preferred decorations are lotus and peony scrolls, chrysanthemum medallions or panels, borders of wavy lines, double lotus petals and cloud motifs. Typical Korean pieces have cranes flying among clouds and ducks swimming beneath a willow tree. Celadon ewers often imitated the shape of metal pieces, and the decoration of cosmetic boxes and small oil jars were similar to the lacquer work of the Goryeo period.

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Type
Decorative Art 
Materials
Stoneware, greenish celadon glaze with inlaid Chrysanthemum design 
Measurements
Width Diameter: 13.4 cm Height 6.4 cm  
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Korea 
Geography
Korea 
Time period
AD 13th century ~ AD 13th century 
Creation date
Goryeo dynasty, latter half of the 13th century 
Function
Cosmetic box 
Acquisition
Purchased in Tokyo in 1946 and donated in 1949 to the Museum of Eastern Asiatic Arts by Tibor Horváth, then Director of the Museum. 
Copyright
No information, data or images may be published or reproduced without written permission of the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Eastern Asiatic Arts, Budapest. 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Hungarian State; property management by the Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest; in the Collection of the Ferenc Hopp Museum of Eastern Asiatic Arts, Budapest. 
Museum
Ferenc Hopp Museum of Eastern Asiatic Arts 
Credit line
Description by Ildikó Nagy, Koreanist, Ferenc Hopp Museum of Eastern Asiatic Arts 

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