Ancient pottery on display

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Ancient pottery on display


“Celadon Jar.” Provided by Horim Art Center

Goryeo celadon, the first kind of porcelain developed by Koreans, has been praised for its unique beauty, often characterized by intricate inlays and jade-green hues.

The inlay technique, called sanggam, is not only celebrated in Korea, but also in China, where porcelain is generally believed to have originated.

You can now get your fill of Goryeo celadon at the Horim Art Center, which is hosting a large exhibition displaying 200 such works.

A highlight of the exhibit is the “Celadon Jar,” which is the biggest piece of Goryeo celadon ever shown to the public. It measures 48 centimeters (18.9 inches) high and has a diameter of 50 centimeters. It is also the first time this particular piece of celadon has been put on display for the public.

“There are few Goryeo celadon pieces as big as this one,” said Yu Jin-hyeon, curator of the exhibition. Another notable piece is the “Celadon Gourd-shaped Lidded Ewer” from the 12th century Goryeo Dynasty - one of six nationally recognized treasures on display. The work, which is listed as treasure No. 1540, is considered a typical example of jade-green celadon, both in shape and color.

Another treasure - No. 1451, from the 13th century - is the “Celadon Bottle Table Ewer” created with the famous inlaying technique.

“Scholars excavated Goryeo kilns and they found only a small number of inlaid celadon pieces,” Yu said. “This shows that inlaid celadon was rare and precious even in the Goryeo Dynasty.”

The exhibit also shows celadon inlaid with iron-rich clay drawings. The clay was diluted with water and then applied to the celadon with a brush. Because of the high iron content, the painted area turned black.

The exhibition shows that celadon was used for a variety of purposes other than serving food. There are celadon drums, plates, tiles and poles, among other types of pieces.

The Horim Art Center, located in Sinsa-dong, Gangnam District, in southern Seoul, is a branch of the Horim Museum - which is one of the country’s three major private museums. The other two are Gansong Art Museum and the Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art.

The art center is a site in itself, surrounded by concrete layers that make it look like a lotus in full bloom.

It is part of a 15-story office building that looks like upside-down earthenware, which has made it a landmark. The tower has a metallic dark brown tone and slit windows.

To enter the Horim Art Center, visitors need to go through a dark corridor with tiny lights sparkling on the ceiling.

The exhibition at the Horim Art Center starts on the fourth floor. It opened Friday and continues through Sept. 20.

The exhibit is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Sundays and Chuseok holidays. It has extended hours on Wednesdays, when it is open until 8 p.m. Guided tours are offered at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tours of the entire center are offered at 3 p.m. Ticket prices range from 5,000 won ($3.90) to 8,000 won. Admission is free on the last Thursday of each month. To get to the museum, go to Gangnam-gu Office Station on line No. 7, exit 3, and walk 10 minutes south. For more information, call 02-541-3523 or visit

By Limb Jae-un []
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