In China, jade signifies the true gentleman, wealth and honor.
It also has religious value, guaranteeing life after death and warding off demons. Therefore jade was popular for use in objects enclosed in tombs.
The ruling classes were eager to possess jade, and to bury their parents with large amounts of it. The jade available was too little for their needs, and very expensive. Therefore artisans tried to create jade from clay, and the result was the pottery known in the West as Celadon, first produced in China in the Three Kingdoms and the Warring Kingdoms periods.
In Korea, Chinese celadon pottery has been found in tombs dating from the 4-6th centuries, suggesting that the royal family of the period imported celadon from China as a substitute for jade.
In 9th century China, the practice of Zen Buddhism spread among the powerful families, who considered that drinking tea helped clear the mind while sitting in meditation. Celadon was used to make the tea cups, and this seems to be the first time that it was employed for vessels in ordinary use.
Tea was not simply a luxury for the rich, it offered a way toward spiritual enlightenment. The cup used for drinking tea was highly valued, some were worth more than gold.

Zen Buddhism entered Korea toward the end of the Unified Silla Dynasty, in the 8th century. Monks returning from China brought Chinese tea-cups to Korea. When the Koryo Dynasty came, Koreans began to manufacture their own celadon vessels, beginning in the later 10th century.
Research was undertaken in order to make even better celadon, using the best clays, and the celadon produced in the south- western area now known as Cholla Province, near the towns of Kangjin and Kochang, was particularly famed.

At that time, the Buddhist visions of Paradise were immensely popular and the pottery of later Koryo times expresses the people's longing for a symbolic world of Eternity, through such symbols as clouds and cranes, or the lotus flower so central to the world of Zen Buddhism, as well as willows, and ducks playing in water. In a similar spirit, wild chrysanthemums express calmness and solitude. When these symbols took form on the surface of delicate green jars and bowls, the result was some of the most beautiful pottery in the world.



Copyright 2000 ichontour All rights reserved. contact us