Goryeo celadon used to store common foodstuffs

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Goryeo celadon used to store common foodstuffs

Korea’s top-quality Goryeo celadon, which has so far been known as noble containers for holding alcohol, were also used to preserve honey and other common foodstuffs, a state heritage agency said Wednesday.

Mysteriously pale green-blue in color and elegantly shaped, celadon from the Goryeo Dynasty (916-1932) is hailed as the quintessence of Korean ceramic ware, which reached its zenith in the 12th and 13th centuries.

The rare artifacts, however, served very practical functions in households at that time, said the National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage, which recently discovered two Goryeo celadon pieces with labels.

The pieces were unearthed from an ancient shipwreck in waters off of Taean County, South Chungcheong. Written in black, their bamboo labels say each of the celadon pieces is a “honey jar” to be sent to a man named O Mun-bu, a low-ranking military official in the dynasty’s capital, Gaegyeong, which is now the North Korean city of Kaesong, the institute said.

This is the first time that Goryeo celadon pieces have been found with labels that state a food-related purpose, the institute noted.

The celadon pieces “were not decorations, but daily necessities,” Chung Yang-mo, former president of the National Museum of Korea and a celadon expert, said at the press meeting.

The excavation project, which began this year, also unearthed cups, bronze spoons, celadon jars, bamboo baskets and iron pots from the shipwreck, it said.

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