White Porcelain-making Technique

There is the white porcelain-making technique among the national cultural heritage showcasing the resourcefulness and talents of the Korean nation.

A white porcelain is an ornament made by baking china clay at high temperatures.

The porcelain was manufactured in the largest quantity next to celadon during the period of the Koryo dynasty (918-1392).

The discovery of many pieces of white porcelains along with emerald green ceramics in different historic sites including the Haksong-ri site in Tongchang County shows that white porcelains were also manufactured in Koryo.

Since its invention, the white porcelain-making technique had undergone steady development towards the latter half of the Koryo period and the period of the feudal Joson dynasty (1392-1910).

The level of its development can be seen through the fact that such ornaments were the best among the ceramics made during the feudal Joson dynasty.

Based on the ceramic-making techniques and experience in the preceding period, the firm foundation for the development of white porcelain began to be laid in the mid-15th century and the white porcelain making was in its heyday between the early 18th century and the mid-19th century.

It varied in kind including pure and inlaid white porcelains and chinaware with cobalt blue drawings.

In that period, it had the soft and elegant colour which was distinct from the colour of white porcelains of other countries.

The then Korean ceramists focused on convenient and simple shape for everyday use without such excessive exaggeration that put too much stress on ornamentation and sought special novelty in shape.

This is evidenced by the porcelains created in those days, notably the “square white porcelain flowerpot”.

The white porcelain-making technique that has been enriched in the long historical process is being carried on by special production units and such educational institutions as Pyongyang University of Fine Arts.

The technique is an element of intangible cultural heritage of the DPRK.

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