Porcelain with underglaze cobalt–blue and copper–red decoration of tree peonies; H. 15 in. (38.1 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1927 (27.119.22)
Blue-and-white ware from the early Joseon dynasty was usually painted by professional painters; they exhibit cool sophistication and meticulousness. In contrast, those from the nineteenth century tend to be more uninhibited in form and decoration. Large, bulbous jars with a straight neck, as in this example, are typical of this period, and are often adorned with freely executed motifs of plants or longevity symbols. The addition of another color besides blue (cobalt)either red (copper) or brown (iron)was also not unusual in porcelain of the nineteenth century. In this jar, deep copper-red (Jar, 1979.413.2) adds bold splashes of contrasting color, highlighting the large peony blossoms sketched in cobalt blue. This piece was probably fired at the official court kiln complex of bunwon, during its final years before being privatized in 1883.