Dr. Park Byoung-rae (朴秉來, 1903-1974), whose pen name was Sujeong (水晶), was a medical doctor who wholeheartedly appreciated Korean fine art. In order to study and preserve Korean history, he spent more than a half-century collecting Korean ceramics, beginning in the 1920s, when Korea was still under Japanese colonial rule. In March 1974, he donated 362 ceramic pieces to the National Museum of Korea, in the belief that great cultural properties should be appreciated and studied by many people.
Dr. Park’s donated cultural properties are primarily ceramics made from kilns in Gwangju (Geumsa-ri and Bunwon-ri) in the 18th and 19th centuries, with a predominance of white porcelain in underglaze cobalt blue. Exuding elegance, these masterpieces are essential to the research and appreciation of white porcelain from the Joseon Dynasty. Of particular note is a range of Chinese ink water containers that once decorated the sarangbang of various Confucian scholars.
These containers, in their myriad shapes, are a joy to behold, and clearly reflect Dr. Park’s affection and love for Korean art. His fine taste is exemplified by ceramics of simple beauty with precise patterns, such as a gourd-shaped white porcelain bottle with an orchid design in underglaze cobalt blue (Treasure No.1058).