Rare Underglaze-blue Decorated Brush Pot 

Korean / Choson Dynasty, 18th Century

4 9/16 inches high


Delicately painted with four separate flower sprays, aster, carnation , orchid and lilly, rising from rockwork set in jardinieres. 


Highly-prized scholars objects such as this delicately but sparingly-painted flower sprays are extremely rare. The simple shape and austere decoration exemplifies the refined taste of this period for the accoutrements of the scholar’s writing desk. 


The ceramics of the Chosen period (1392-1910) reflect a profound change in taste form the luxurious life-style of the preceding Koryo Dynasty. The prevailing Confucian ethic demanded wares of an altogether simpler nature. By the 15th century ceramic production was widespread in Korea. A census of kilns at this time records 139 porcelain kilns, mostly privately operated and with annual tributes to the court. Scarcity of cobalt (which had to be imported from China) for the underglaze blue decoration meant a paucity of such wares at this time, but by the late 17th century, greater numbers, with such decoration, began to appear. Depictions of elegant flowers or grass sprays predominate, albeit painted sparingly.


For a large jar with an exceedingly similar depiction of carnations in the same cursory light style, see Exhibitions of Oriental Ceramics, Museum of Oriental Ceramics , Osaka, 1982, pl. 120. For a similar example of a small brush pot from the Hoam Art Museum, Yongin, Korea, see Roderick Whitfield (Ed.), Treasures from Korea, Art Through 5000 years, British Museum, London, 1984, p.175, no. 205