Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1983.28
Austere, pure, and simple are adjectives often associated with white porcelain ware of the Joseon dynasty. Unlike perfectly symmetrical and intricately adorned Chinese or Japanese ceramic pieces, an undecorated Korean white porcelain jar was highly celebrated, particularly among Japanese art historians and connoisseurs. For them, its empty white surface expresses the concept of “not acting or not desiring”—the highest level of self-cultivation.
While white porcelain vases taller than 40 centimeters were exclusively for the royal household, relatively small ones, such as this jar, were for court officials and aristocrats. In the scholar’s elegant study, a round white jar often held a branch of plum or peony blossoms.
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