VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Pear-shaped bottle
800-557 MNAOr
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The profile’s overall proportions of this modest vessel invites the observer’s eye, gliding along the gentle curve of the neck discreetly emphasized by the crown of “lotus panel” motifs, to rest on the suspended drop of the body wrapped up by bold, whitish peonies contrasting the iron-brown painted background. The perfect fusion between the stillness of the profile and the dynamism of the weaving peony garland is close to being too balanced, if it were not for the three, curled up leaf-like motifs that freely scan the plain, ivory-white space of the neck, thus taking the bottle from the level of very high craftsmanship to the realm of art, purely punch’ong, unmistakably Korean, but universally enjoyable.

History of the Object
No record is available on the origin of this pear-shaped bottle decorated in the loose, dynamic style typical of the 15th century Korean potters working in the punch’ong style. This term, first coined in the 1930s by Ko Yu-sop (1904-1944), to define (in extenso: Pungch’ong-sagi, Powdery blu-green ware) the typically Choson Dynasty céladon-like wares and to differentiate them from the preceding Koryo Dynasty céladons. Unlike the latter, punch’ong wares were not restricted to use by aristocracy but instead were circulated throughout Korean society from the royal court to humble commoners.

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Type
Decorative Art 
Materials
Glazed punch’ong ware with incised and cut decoration on ivory-white slip 
Measurements
Width Maximum diameter: 16,8 cm Height 32,5 cm  
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Korea; possibly South Cholla Province 
Geography
Korea 
Time period
AD 15th century ~ AD 15th century 
Creation date
15th Century; Choson Dynasty (1392-1910) 
Function
A daily use vessel for liquids, especially wine. 
Acquisition
In 1960 the Korean and Italian governments agreed to exchange a limited number of art objects in order to promote the mutual knowledge of their respective Historical and Cultural Heritage. The just established National Museum of Oriental Art offered a lot of Etruscan and Italic antiquities to the Korean National Museum, which sent to Rome an equivalent number of Koryo Dynasty céladons and Choson Dynasty punch’ong wares, including this bottle. 
Copyright
"Giuseppe Tucci" National Museum of Oriental Art 
Acknowledgements
Text: Roberto Ciarla 
Owner
Giuseppe Tucci National Museum of Oriental Art 
Museum
Giuseppe Tucci National Museum of Oriental Art 
Credit line
 

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