A Quarter Century of Scientific Study on Korean Traditional Ceramics Culture: From Mounds of Waste Shards to Masterpieces of Bisaek Celadon
Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage
The first twenty-five years of scientific study within Korea on Korean traditional ceramics has been characterized as a bridging effort to understand the rich field of artistic ceramic masterpieces on one hand with analytic results gained from mounds of broken shards and kiln wastes on the other. First shard pieces were collected directly from the waste mounds, but most of the analyzed shards were provided by art historians and museum staffs directly involved in systematic excavations. The
... cavations. The scientific study is viewed as one of many complimentary ways in learning about the multi-faceted ceramics culture, ultimately connecting human spirits and endeavors from the past to the present to the future. About 1350 pieces of analyzed shards have been so far collected and organized according to the production location and time period. From the experimental results of the analysis, the compositional and microstructural characteristics of bodies and glazes have been deduced for many kiln sites of Goryeo and Joseon dynasties. Except for a few local kilns, porcelain stone was used as body material in both dynasties. The principle of mixing a clay component with a flux material was used in Korean glazes as was in China. The clay component different from body clay was often used early on. In Gangjin a porcelain material appropriate for whiteware body was mixed for celadon glaze, and in Joseon Gwangju kilns glaze stone was chief clay material. The use of wood ash persisted in Korea even in making buncheong glazes, but in Joseon whitewares burnt lime and eventually crushed lime were used as flux material.