Tranquil harmony in rusted bronze
Period: Goryeo, 12th century
Location: National Museum of Korea
Status: National Treasure No. 92
This ritual ewer (pitcher) from the Goryeo period was used by monks to keep fresh water for religious rituals. Its overall design is based on similar pitchers once used by Brahmans and later by Buddhist monks in ancient India. The inlaid silver details and elegant form are typical of the sophisticated Korean traditional metalwork of the time.
The picturesque decoration depicts reed and willow branches gently swaying next to the water as fishermen set their rods and the wet fog rises above the hills. The rusted bronze hue creates a sense of tranquil harmony. Willow trees frequently appear on ritual ewers, in accordance with a story from Buddhist scripture that the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy cured the sick with only clean water and willow branches.
*The photos and text for Treasure Trove are provided by the National Museum of Korea. For more information, call (02) 2077-9000 or visit www.museum.go.kr.