White Porcelain Rectangular Bottle


Rectangular bottles were produced in both China and Japan, however, the majority of white porcelain rectangular bottles (白磁四角甁) manufactured in Joseon adhere more closely to Japanese styles. In particular, stylistic touches such as the gradual tapering along the edges and slight bend in the mouth are clearly inspired by Japanese ceramics.


White Porcelain Rectangular Bottle with Seven Treasures and Flower Designs in Blue Underglaze  (白磁靑畫七寶花卉文四角甁)

Joseon dynasty, 19th century, H. 14.5cm , Ewha Womans University Museum of Korea ⓒEwha Womans University Museum of Korea

This rectangular bottle produced in the late Joseon period features many technical and stylistic innovations inspired by Japanese ceramics. Unlike traditional Joseon bottles, this example features a curved mouth that was thrown separately and attached during the final phase of modeling. Similarly, the bottle displays an unusual diagonal ridge along the shoulder of the vessel.

In addition, each side of the bottle is decorated with underglaze paintings of flowers (花卉), plum blossoms (梅花), seven treasures designs (七寶文) and flower-floating-on-water Patterns (花流水文)* within a zig-zag shaped frame known as songpireung (松皮菱)*.

The songpirung motif and flower and Floating-on-water Patterns in particular, frequently appear in Japanese painting and textiles from as far back as the Edo period but were all but unknown in Joseon up until the nineteenth century. This example clearly demonstrates how rectangular bottles produced in Joseon incorporated many technical and stylistic innovations from Japanese ceramics.

The bottle was produced using high quality clay and a refined light-blue glaze. In addition, the firing process was also carefully monitored so that the glaze would set at the perfect temperature. Such a sophisticated ceramic was likely produced at the Bunwon (分院) royal kilns in the mid-nineteenth century.



*Floating-on-water Patterns (花流水文) depict flowers floating downstream 

*Songpireung (松皮菱) refers to a zig-zag shaped frame for a window that overlooks a garden


An inscription on the foot of the bottle indicates that it was produced in the Musin (戊申) year and destined for a place known as Gyeongsugung (慶壽宮). King Jeongjo bestowed the name Gyeongsugung on his concubine Hwabin of the Yun clan (和嬪 尹氏, 1765-1824) and the term was later used to refer to her shrine (祠堂). Although, the Musin year could refer to 1788 or 1848, scholars prefer the later date based on stylistic considerations.

White Porcelain Rectangular Bottle with Flower Panels Made of Blue Underglaze and Enameled (色繪花卉松皮菱文四角甁)

Edo period, 1730~1760s, H. 20.6cm, D. 8.64cm, The British Museum (Franks. 1045) ⓒThe British Museum

  Comparison Between Joseon and Japanese Songpireung (松皮菱) or Flower Frames (花窓)

Rectangular Bottles (四角甁) Made in Late Joseon

Let’s Think About It

 

These three rectangular bottles were produced in China, Japan, and Korea, respectively.

As previously established, Joseon bottles of this type adopted many technical and stylistic innovations from Japanese ceramics.

What do you think is the biggest difference between the bottles from Korea and Japan and the bottle from China?


Chinese square bottles have rounded shoulders whereas Japanese and Korean bottles have a diagonal ridge along the shoulder edge.

The rounded shape of Chinese bottles may have been inspired by rectangular glass bottles imported into China from Europe.

The shape of Japanese bottles on the other hand, seems to have been an internal stylistic development that emerged gradually over many years.

By comparing the shape of the shoulder edge on these three bottles, we can see how Joseon ceramicists chose to model their rectangular ceramics on Japanese models.

Short Cut

White Porcelain Rectangular Bottle


Rectangular bottles were produced in both China and Japan, however, the majority of white porcelain rectangular bottles (白磁四角甁) manufactured in Joseon adhere more closely to Japanese styles.

In particular, stylistic touches such as the gradual tapering along the edges and slight bend in the mouth are clearly inspired by Japanese ceramics.


White Porcelain Rectangular Bottle with Seven Treasures and Flower Designs in Blue Underglaze

(白磁靑畫七寶花卉文四角甁)

Joseon dynasty, 19th century, H. 14.5cm , Ewha Womans University Museum of Korea ⓒEwha Womans University Museum of Korea

This rectangular bottle produced in the late Joseon period features many technical and stylistic innovations inspired by Japanese ceramics. Unlike traditional Joseon bottles, this example features a curved mouth that was thrown separately and attached during the final phase of modeling. Similarly, the bottle displays an unusual diagonal ridge along the shoulder of the vessel.

In addition, each side of the bottle is decorated with underglaze paintings of flowers (花卉), plum blossoms (梅花), seven treasures designs (七寶文) and flower-floating-on-water Patterns (花流水文)* within a zig-zag shaped frame known as songpireung (松皮菱)*.

The songpirung motif and flower and Floating-on-water Patterns in particular, frequently appear in Japanese painting and textiles from as far back as the Edo period but were all but unknown in Joseon up until the nineteenth century. This example clearly demonstrates how rectangular bottles produced in Joseon incorporated many technical and stylistic innovations from Japanese ceramics.

The bottle was produced using high quality clay and a refined light-blue glaze. In addition, the firing process was also carefully monitored so that the glaze would set at the perfect temperature. Such a sophisticated ceramic was likely produced at the Bunwon (分院) royal kilns in the mid-nineteenth century.


*Floating-on-water Patterns (花流水文) depict flowers floating downstream 

*Songpireung (松皮菱) refers to a zig-zag shaped frame for a window that overlooks a garden

Gyeongsugung (慶壽宮), the year of Musin (戊申)
Gyeongsugung (慶壽宮), the year of Musin (戊申)

An inscription on the foot of the bottle indicates that it was produced in the Musin (戊申) year and destined for a place known as Gyeongsugung (慶壽宮). King Jeongjo bestowed the name Gyeongsugung on his concubine Hwabin of the Yun clan (和嬪 尹氏, 1765-1824) and the term was later used to refer to her shrine (祠堂). Although, the Musin year could refer to 1788 or 1848, scholars prefer the later date based on stylistic considerations.

White Porcelain Rectangular Bottle with Flower Panels Made of Blue Underglaze and Enameled

(色繪花卉松皮菱文四角甁)

Edo period, 1730~1760s, H. 20.6cm, D. 8.64cm. The British Museum (Franks. 1045). ⓒThe British Museum

Comparison between Joseon and Japanese songpireung (松皮菱) or flower frames (花窓)


Rectangular Bottles (四角甁)
made in Late Joseon

Let’s Think About It


These three rectangular bottles were produced in China, Japan, and Korea, respectively.

As previously established, Joseon bottles of this type adopted many technical and stylistic innovations from Japanese ceramics.

What do you think is the biggest difference between the bottles from Korea and Japan and the bottle from China?

Chinese square bottles have rounded shoulders whereas Japanese and Korean bottles have a diagonal ridge along the shoulder edge.

The rounded shape of Chinese bottles may have been inspired by rectangular glass bottles imported into China from Europe.

The shape of Japanese bottles on the other hand, seems to have been an internal stylistic development that emerged gradually over many years.

By comparing the shape of the shoulder edge on these three bottles, we can see how Joseon ceramicists chose to model their rectangular ceramics on Japanese models.

Short Cut