Ceramics is a unique type of art that involves the harmonious interaction of people, earth, and fire. The invention of porcelain marks a significant turning point in the history of ceramics. To make porcelain, extremely fragile materials are sculpted, coated with glaze, and baked at temperatures as high as 1300°C. It is a remarkably delicate artistic practice that requires unparalleled mastery of technology and technique.
Korean porcelain was first produced in the late 9th or early 10th century. Around that time, people began producing celadon and white porcelain, developing earthenware technology under the influence of China’s Yue ware (越州窯). By the turn of the 11th century, celadon production technology had become much more sophisticated, and it reached its pinnacle in the 12th century. The greatest achievements were the creation of jade-colored celadon, wherein the glaze is tinted with a light jade color, and the development of inlay technique, which opened a new chapter in ceramic art.
While engaged in a protracted war with the Yuan Dynasty, the delicate shape and hue of jade-colored celadon gradually vanished, resulting in a noticeable decline in the quality of celadon. Then, in the late 14th century, frequent Japanese invasions forced master artisans to move inland and disperse in all directions in order to survive and preserve their traditions. This movement led to an increase in porcelain production and demand, as more lower class people were exposed to porcelain and began to incorporate it into their lives. The tradition of inlaid celadon was succeeded by Buncheong ware.