Porcelain with underglaze cobalt blue; H. 13 1/2 in. (34.3 cm)
Purchase, Parnassus Foundation/Jane and Raphael Bernstein Gift, and Diane Carol Brandt Gift, 2005 (2005.406)
The form of this handsome jarmost likely a wine containerand the cobalt blue surface design of floral sprays and flying insects are representative of blue-and-white porcelain produced at court-patronized kilns in eighteenth-century Korea. The fluid, calligraphic lines of the decoration and the abundance of white space are what differentiated Korean porcelain from its Chinese, Japanese, and European counterparts, especially in the eighteenth century.
Porcelain with underglaze cobalt blue painting was first produced in Korea in about the middle of the fifteenth century as imperial ware. The technique, as well as the cobalt itself, was imported from China, and early pieces have a stylistic affinity with Chinese examples from the Ming dynasty. The eighteenth century ushered in a period of more distinctly "Korean" aesthetics and styles in art, including porcelain. At the same time, the clientele for paintings and objects, even porcelain produced at the court-patronized kilns, expanded to include not just royal patrons but also elite families.