By Jung Joo-ri
Photos = Leeum Museum of Art
One hundred and eighty-five pieces of the finest white porcelain created during the 500 years of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) will be on display in a special exhibition.
The Leeum Museum of Art will open the special exhibition, "Joseon White Porcelain: Paragon of Virtue," from Feb. 28 to May 28 featuring a total of 185 pieces of the best white porcelain from the dynasty.
The exhibition includes 10 national treasures and 21 "lower-level" treasures, as well as 34 pieces owned by six Japanese museums and galleries. It will also display six pieces that were donated by the late Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee's family to the National Museum of Korea in 2021.
Divided into four sections, the exhibition will introduce 42 items which are considered the essence of white porcelain from the Joseon Dynasty, including 31 state-designated cultural properties, three white porcelain assets in Korea, and eight works from overseas collections.
In the first section, two outstanding pieces are the national treasure "White Porcelain Jar with Plum and Bamboo Design in Underglaze Cobalt Blue," and the "White Porcelain Moon Jar" from the Museum of Oriental Ceramics in Osaka, Japan.
The moon jar, which had been shattered into 300 pieces, was completely restored after years of painstaking work.
The main items in the second section are blue and white porcelain decorated with cobalt blue on a white background. Along with the newly displayed "White Porcelain Bottle with Cloud and Dragon Design in Underglaze Cobalt Blue," other works from China and Japan embellished with bright colors are on display for visitors.
The third part of the exhibition will showcase white porcelain in iron-brown or copper-red underglaze, and monochrome white porcelain from the mid-Joseon Dynasty created as such due to a lack of cobalt blue pigment resulting from a war against Japan and China.
Under the theme of plain white porcelain without patterns, the last section displays works made in the provinces that were used daily as containers.
A senior researcher at the Leeum Museum of Art, Lee Joon-kwang on Feb. 24 said, "The exhibition is a place to enjoy various aspects of white porcelain in one place, from the finest luxury of Joseon white porcelain to the bowls of ordinary people," adding, "The event is designed for people to appreciate the true charm of Joseon white porcelain, which is well harmonized with its inner essence, such as a form that reflects consciousness and outer appearance that includes a beautiful pattern."
The special exhibition is available for free after making a reservation at the Leeum Museum of Art's website.