The Enduring Beauty of Celadon: A Special Exhibition of Goryeo Celadons

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The Enduring Beauty of Celadon: A Special Exhibition of Goryeo Celadons, one of the two loan exhibitions organized for the opening of the National Palace Museum (NPM) Southern Branch, was made possible because of a visit and promise made in 2009. Such a promise facilitated the careful selection of artifacts by a curatorial team for the exhibition as well as subsequent engagements in comparative research and information sharing, contributing to the perfect presentation of artifacts upon the opening of the NPM Southern Branch.

Goryeo celadon is the ceramic ware produced in the Korean Peninsula during the Goryeo period (918–1392) and remains the most representative traditional craft from Korea today. Goryeo celadons possess a translucent grayish-green, jade-like color and have been likened to ancient secret-color porcelains as well as China's Ru ware. Earlier Goryeo celadon makers were influenced by Ding ware (produced in Northern China) and Yaozhou ware; however, as they continued to develop Goryeo celadons, they ultimately created their own celadons of extraordinary colors and features. The mesmerizing colors of the said artifacts transcend those that can be described by words.

When the NPM's Bowls in the Shape of a Lotus with Light Bluish-Green Glaze (Ru ware; Northern Song dynasty) are compared with the Goryeo celadons, the shapes, colors (i.e., the former featuring a color that is said to resemble the "clear sky after rain" and the latter a jade-like color), and craftsmanship of the two types of artifacts produced from different cultures and at different times complement each other as they give off a natural, lifelike feel. The union of the two types of artifacts is a rare opportunity for visitors to observe the masterpieces at once and up-close.

This catalogue, edited by Yu Pei-chin (head of the Department of Antiquities, the NPM) and Wang Ming-yen (executive editor and research assistant, NPM Southern Branch) and containing monographs from Itoh Ikutaro (honorary director, The Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka) and Katayama Mabi (professor, Tokyo University of the Arts), details the developmental history, glaze, and shapes of celadons as well as artifacts from Khitan, Song dynasties, and Japan. Decorations of these artifacts are compared and analyzed in-depth to reveal the transmission history of Southeast Asian cultures, providing readers with a broader and deeper understanding of Asian cultures.
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The Enduring Beauty of Celadon: A Special Exhibition of Goryeo Celadons