SIZE: Approximately 5.5 cm x 2.5 cm (2 inches x 1 inch)
Cranes are a symbol of longevity and spirituality and this unique work of art has five! Traditionally, cranes are used singly or in pairs to decorate this type of pottery. This elegant design creates different patterns every time you look at this piece. Is it a whole flock of cranes or an elegant flower that decorates the cover? In Korean folklore, people who live lives of virtuous solitude become cranes when they die. With five cranes on this box, that won’t happen anytime soon!
The History of Celadon
Although celadon was developed in China around 200 AD, Korea perfected it and brought it to a new level. Around 900 AD, during the Goryeo Dynasty, master potters in the Gangjin area of southwest Korea developed an exciting new technique called ‘sanggam.’ Sanggam carves designs into partially dried clay which are then filled with slip (wet clay) of different colors. The celadon glaze is fine and translucent enough for the underlying colors to show through, creating an inlaid effect so delicate that the designs appear to be created with brushstrokes.
Throughout the Goryeo period, Korean celadon vases were in high demand by the royal courts in Korea and abroad. This came to an abrupt end with the Mongolian invasion in the 13th century. Other styles and designs became popular over the years but during the Joseon Dynasty master potters once again turned to learning and mastering the sanggam technique. Since the end of the Joseon Dynasty in the early 1900s, potters have continued creating sanggam designs and today, they are combining old techniques with modern aesthetics to create masterful works of art.