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Flask with Flattened Sides and Design of Fish and Flowers

Joseon dynasty, 1392–1910
15th–early 16th century
Buncheong ware; stoneware with incised and sgraffito decoration under transparent glaze
Made in
Korea, Asia
Current Location
On View, Gallery 227
8 7/8 x 7 3/8 x 6 in. (22.5 x 18.7 x 15.2 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Public Domain
Object Number
The flattened sides of this flask are boldly decorated with fish in the sgraffito (scratched) technique. The outlines were incised through the white surface to reveal the darker body below. The narrower sides have stylized floral motifs produced in reverse through removal of the white surface over the body, along with some incised details. The term buncheong is a contraction of bunjang hoecheong sagi. First used in the 1930s by Korea’s earliest art historian Go Yuseop, it means “gray-blue (or gray-green) stoneware with powder.” The “powder” refers to the layer of thin white clay brushed onto the formed vessels before they are decorated with painted, incised, or stamped designs. The pale shade of blue or green comes from iron in the glaze applied prior to firing.
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