Saturday, November 2, 2013

Korean Style in Japanese Ceramics

Where: Freer Gallery of Art

When: through February 9, 2014

Gallery 6A is a small space inside Gallery 6, one of the main exhibit rooms at the Freer.  Clearly, it's been my week to see shows in little places.  It's not large enough to show pieces of any great size, so it tends to focus on small items, like tea utensils or bowls.  The current display is Japanese ceramics with a Korean influence.

Korean ceramics arrived in Japan in the 15th and 16th centuries.  At that time, the Koreans were able to make ceramics that were far superior to anything available in Japan, thus, their work was in high demand.  Even after Japanese works were able to duplicate the quality of Korean pieces, their techniques were long admired in Japan, and Korean handiwork was often used as tea bowls.  Items with an inlaid decoration were particularly prized.

The works on display here are Japanese pieces from the 17th - 19th century, which show the influence of Korean design.  An item that caught my eye was a tea cup with a crane motif.  It's a beautiful small piece - the work is very fine.

Verdict: A trip to the Freer is always worthwhile; this small display can be combined easily with the larger show on Freer and Japan.

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