Celadon Ewer in the Shape of a Turtle-Dragon

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Celadon Ewer in the Shape of a Turtle-Dragon


A masterpiece from the 12th century, the gold age of Goryeo celadon art, this celadon ewer has a height of 17 centimeters (7 inches), base diameter of 10.3 centimeters, and foot rim diameter of 9.9 centimeters.

It features a dragon-headed tortoise sitting on a lotus flower and consists of - in addition to the body for storing liquid - a mouth, spout and handle.

The dragon head is elaborately and skillfully rendered to be complete with a pair of horns on the forehead as well as a beard, staring eyes, sharp teeth, and scales along the long neck.

The eyes are marked with slip dots, whereas the scales along the neck are incised and the claws are carved in relief.

The back is decorated with a tortoise-shell motif, with each hexagon containing the Chinese character “wang,” meaning “king.” The handle is shaped like a twisted lotus stalk, whereas the mouth through which water is poured into the ewer is shaped like a lotus leaf nicely folded inward.

The entire surface of the vessel is covered with jade green glaze emitting a pleasantly fresh luster.

With the elaborate rendering of the details nicely coated with attractive jade green glaze, the ewer is widely regarded as one of the finest examples of the figurative celadon vessels of Goryeo, which feature various animals and plants.

Name: Celadon Ewer in the Shape of a Turtle-Dragon

Period: Middle Goryeo Period

Location: Yongsan District, Seoul

Status: National Treasure No. 96
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