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|Revised Romanization||Goryeo dojagi, Goryeo cheongja, Goryeo jagi|
|McCune-Reischauer||Kory? tojagi, Kory? ch'?ja, Kory? chagi|
Goryeo ware (Korean: , romanized: Goryeo dojagi, also known as Goryeo cheong-ja) refers to all types of Korean pottery and porcelain produced during the Goryeo dynasty, from 918 to 1392, but most often refers to celadon (greenware).
Celadon techniques were first introduced from China; Goryeo potters established a native style by the 12th century. One of these native styles is characterized by the sanggam technique, a way of inlaying that was unique to Goryeo celadon. The color of the celadon, called bisaek for 'green', was also highly admired. The industry arose and declined as the Goryeo dynasty developed. A large number of wares were produced at the Gangjin Kiln Sites in southwestern Korea.
An artist of the post-war era who specialised in Goryeo ware was Living National Treasure Yu Geun-Hyeong. His work was documented in the short film Koryo Celadon in 1979. Many celadon pieces from Goryeo are listed as National Treasures of South Korea.
Pottery and celadon had been introduced into the Korean peninsula in the Three Kingdom age. Demand for higher quality porcelain increased as the Goryeo Dynasty emerged. With that and the development of tea culture and Buddhism, wares based on traditional and southern China (Song dynasty) porcelain began production in Goryeo . Most of the pottery made in this era are the kinds that are called haemurigup celadon and green celadon(low-grade)
As the celadon techniques of the Song dynasty reached its pinnacle, much effort was made inside Goryeo to reproduce the turquoise coloring of these Chinese porcelain. A lot of kilns were made throughout the kingdom, leading to a variety of celadon being made. High grade celadon were made in order of the capital, and low grade celadon were made by the requests of temples, offices and local families of provinces.
Though Chinese influences were still existent, Goryeo styled shapes and decorations emerged in some porcelains. These are characterized by the utilization of light curves and a serene, elegant feel. Decoration techniques such as relief carving, intaglio carving, iron oxide glaze, openwork became in use. The sanggam inlaying also started at this age.
The 12th century is considered as a zenith of Goryeo celadon, especially in its special color and harmony. The pure celadon made in this age had thin glaze coating that exquisitely reflected the jade color, called bisaek. They also had a great level of structural balance and elegance. There are records describing celadon of this age as world best.
Jinsa "underglaze red", a technique using copper oxide pigment to create copper-red designs, was developed in Korea during the 12th century, and later inspired the "underglaze red" ceramics of the Yuan dynasty.
Maturation of the aristocrat society due to events such as the coup of military officers leads to an increasing favor for extravagantly decorated porcelain. Inlaying techniques reach its height and opens a second zenith of Goryeo celadon. Other types of porcelain develop as whitening, iron oxide glaze, copper oxide glaze came in use. With the decrease of Chinese influence, Goryeo celadon acquires a more native shape, in unique patterns and decorative shapes. Thin, transparent glaze used to show the inlaid designs led to development of a crackling cooling pattern, called bingyeol(craquelure).
After the Mongolian invasion in 1220, social and economic confusion had caused the general quality of Goryeo celadon to decline. Influence of Yuan dynasty is seen throughout the porcelain produced in this time. Though the celadon industry remained, overall density of expressions and smoothness decreased and the color and harmony are also diminished. This decrease in its beauty continues as the Goryeo dynasty recedes.
In the late 14th Century, the Kilns of Gangjin and Buanyo were attacked by Japanese pirates and closed. Inland kilns replace them, putting an end to the age of celadon. Though new characteristic shapes and designs appear, they are utilitarian instead of being elegant and restrained, as Goryeo celadon in its zenith did. One of these new types of porcelain is called buncheong.
For the inlay technique, several patterns are engraved on the surface of metal, clay, wood, etc. Other materials such as gold, silver, jewelry, bone are inserted in the same shape. This traditional decoration technique started to be applied in porcelain in the Goryeo dynasty. Purple(Black) and white clay were used to show the patterns.
A pattern is engraved on celadon with a knife and covered with purple and white soil. When the soil dries, the overflowing mud is wiped off, remaining only in the carved areas; thus, a white or purple pattern will appear. When it is baked after painted with glaze, the white soil appears as white and the purple as black, and this pattern is seen through the glaze.
Glaze of Goryeo celadon had a definite composition starting from the 11th century to the 15th century. It contained a lot of calcium in composition, with 0.5% of manganese oxide, which was more concentrated than glaze used in Chinese celadon. Also in the case of Chinese ceramics, there is enough time for nucleation-crystal growth, so it takes jade color. But the kilns in Goryeo were smaller than that in China, so the firing and cooling process took place quickly. Therefore, minerals in soil such as anorthite or wollastonite have no time for nucleation-crystal growth. This results in the color of celadon being closer to the gray side. In Goryeo celadon, quartz, black particles, bubbles, cracks can be observed too.
The technical contribution of the celadon is that it has a white, black, or gray inlay to emphasize the grayish green color. In addition, when they used white inlay, the glaze was intentionally composited to make cracks. Light was scattered by the small cracks. So degrees of color of the celadon depend on the location of view. Pattern such as clouds, cranes, and flowers were placed on edges to exploit crack patterns. Although it was possible to make cracks with gray or black inlays, only white inlays were employed to make cracks.
Pitcher with the head of a dragon and the body of a fish, 12th century (National Treasure No. 61)
Pitcher in the shape of a Dragon Turtle (National Treasure No. 96)
Koryo potters also experimented with the use of copper for red designs under the glaze, since ground copper pigment fires red in the reducing kiln atmosphere. This technique was started in the twelfth century. Many scholars agree that Chinese Yuan wares with underglaze red design were inspired by the Koryo potters' use of copper red at the time when the Yuan and Koryo courts had very close political ties.