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For other white porcelain moon flasks, see Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea, Korean Arts, vol. 2, Ceramics, Seoul, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Korea, 1961, cat. no. 98; Kungnip Chungang Pangmulgwan, Park Byong-rae suijib ijo doja/ Donated Pieces of Yi Porcelain from the Collection of Dr. Park Byong-rae, exhibition catalogue, National Museum of Korea, 1974, cat. no. 49; Rhee Byung-chang, Kankoku bijutsu shushu/ Masterpieces of Korean Art, Tokyo, Tokyo University Press, 1978, cat. no. 146; Jin Wianlong, ed., Ijo doja, baegjyayeon (Yi Porcelain, White Porcelain), 1979, cover image and cat. no. 14
For a similar undecorated white porcelain moon flask dated to the sixteenth century, compare an example in the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, acc. No.00153, http://jmapps.ne.jp/mocoor_e/det.html?data_id=1051
Undecorated Korean white porcelain vessels such as this have been eagerly collected both within and beyond East Asia for more than a century and have provided inspiration for artists as varied as British ceramist Bernard Leach, Korean painters including Kim Whanki, and many of the country's contemporary potters, contributing to global perceptions of the purity and minimalism of the traditional national aesthetic. Although a few white wares had been made earlier, their predominance dates from the late fifteenth century, when the royal court established a kiln complex at Gwangju that would operate for over four centuries as an official ceramic factory on the Chinese imperial model. The products of the bunwon kilns became so popular among the country's bureaucratic elite that similar wares were soon being made throughout the peninsula, precipitating a decline in the slip-inlaid buncheong ware that had been the ceramic of choice during the previous two centuries. Although the proliferation of production sites makes it difficult to assign the present flask to a specific location, its powerful, precise modeling, well-controlled glaze effects, and characteristic short neck and a low foot point to a date of manufacture not long after the classic example cited above.
Flasks of this type were typically made by throwing two near-identical dishes and then "luting" (joining) their rims with wet clay and applying a separately modeled mouth and foot. From the seventeenth century onward, decorated white wares were also in vogue, with lively, informal motifs such as those on the following lot, often painted in underglaze iron brown instead of the more costly cobalt blue.