In this Korean piece, a folk art piece from the 15th century, we see a whimsical design of fish that, in fact, makes a sophisticated use of positive and negative shapes. The surface of the stoneware vessel was coated with a thick white slip (a clay in a liquid state), done while the vessel, itself, was still damp, semi-soft clay. A sharp tool was then used to draw the design on the surface, with the tool cutting away a line in the white surface slip, revealing the darker clay of the vessel body beneath the slip. The piece was then glazed with a clear (transparent) glaze that would reveal the pattern under the glaze after firing. Although the glaze is clear, after firing it has a pale greenish color. This color comes from the presence of iron oxide in the glaze, which may have been added to the glaze before application or it may be iron from the dark, iron rich clay body used to make the piece. In the latter case, the iron would be pulled into the glaze during the firing process, which would be done in a wood-burning kiln with the presence of smoke and carbon monoxide creating the cool, greenish iron color (in the presence of a clear burning flame, iron oxide would produce a different palette of colors, ranging from tan to a sienna orange -kaki color in Japan- to the black of temmoku glazes). It is this particular greenish iron color that gives these Korean wares their name, punchâ€™ong. The thick potting of this piece identifies it as the product of a rural, folk art kiln; this was not created as a â€œwork of art.â€ -- Bequest of Russell Tyson, 1964.936
Swelling small-mouthed vase with heavy foot of cream colored stoneware covered with thick, whitish slip, decorated with sgraffito designs of cranes, rabbit, humans in landscape. Numerous firing cracks filled after firing with black material. h:10â€ diameter: 7 1/4â€.