Korean Ceramics, Celebrated for Ages, Ends Recent Neglect By Taking to the Net

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Korean Ceramics, Celebrated for Ages, Ends Recent Neglect By Taking to the Net

by Chang Nam-won

Korean ceramics have long been hailed as some of the world's best. Pottery has been made in Korea for thousands of years and Korean potters, influenced by Chinese ceramic arts, developed sophisticated new techniques that in turn were borrowed by other nations.

The Koryo Dynasty (918-1392) produced dreamy blue celadon (in Korean, cheongja) glazes and beautiful engraved patterns.

The following Choson Dynasty (1392-1910) is famed for its plain white baekja porcelain and full, simple shapes.

But some say this great heritage has been neglected in recent times.

This neglect is evidenced by the fact that many Korean scholars must rely on materials from other countries in their studies of Korean ceramics.

This year will see a nationwide campaign to revive appreciation of Korean ceramics and to promote the growth of ceramics industries.

The central focus will be the World Ceramic Exposition 2001 Korea, (Aug. 10 to Oct. 28), a series of events celebrating world ceramics including the 1st World Biennale of Ceramics. For more information, visit www.worldceramic.or.kr or www.ceramicbiennale.org.

For those who wish to access a comprehensive ceramics site over the Net, visit www.potters.org.

A simply designed English-language community discussion site, it is a good source of information on topics including ceramics magazines, events, educational programs, artists and the history of ceramics.

It offers detailed information on the mechanics of pottery, including kilns, glazes, techniques, pigments, forms and materials.

You can find out about the ceramic crafts or the art of the tea ceremony £­ which pot does what?

This pottery archive is updated regularly with ceramics news from Asia to Africa, Europe to America. Its central merit is that it offers visitors the chance to chat with other pottery enthusiasts.

If you think you're an expert, you might be surprised at the level of discussion that takes place here. And, for potters, the site could be a good source of inspiration.

Though any initiative to promote Korean ceramics must be applauded, we should not limit ourselves to retrospective praise-singing.

New ceramics production around the world is resulting in exciting new techniques and forms, innovative tools and equipment, and even new media, such as molten metal. Our celebration of the esthetic and practical art that is ceramics must embrace the new possibilities ahead.

The writer is a researcher at Ewha Womans University Museum.

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