Bone China VS Goryeo Cheongja

What comes into your mind when you think of ceramics?

Most of Western people will think of ‘Bone China’ when they think of ceramics. The name ‘Bone China’ originated from Great Britain in the 1800s. From a long time ago, Western people loved to eat meat and enjoyed hot tea. If they put the hot tea in porcelain, it often broke because of the heat. The English tried make improvements by using animal bones to make heat-resistant porcelain. This was called ‘Bone China’.

Goryeo Cheongja

However, do you know that recently Korean ceramics are gaining the world’s attention? Until the 17th century,only Korea and China used to make porcelain. Even in historical documents from China claim that Korea’s Goryeo Cheongja is the origin of ceramics, they indicate that “Goryeo Cheongja is the best in the world” emphasizing its global value. China is not the only country that believes so. A naturalist in the UK praised Goryeo Cheongja highly by saying, “the best Korean ceramics are the most elegant and truthful with all the advantages of ceramics, revealing the fact that it is the product of a happy people’ in his book titled <Chinese and Far Eastern countries’ ceramics> in 1945.

Goryeo Cheongja has received much praise for being the best because of its ‘creativity’ and ‘color’. The potters of Goryeo made a unique inlaid celadon. The inlay technique was used to carve patterns on the surface to be filled with metals and jewels. It was originally developed in Egypt and introduced to the Korean Peninsula via Central Asia and China. At that time, no master craftsman of the East or West applied the technique to ceramics. Therefore, it was very innovative and creative that Koreans applied this technique to ceramics. Moreover, the color of Goryeo Cheongja was more beautiful and elegant than Chinese ceramics which were produced in mass at that time. With such elegance, it is no wonder that it was praised as the best ceramics in the world in the 12th century.

In this way, Korea’s Goryeo Cheongja is estimated to be a major Korean relic of the blended cultures of the East and the West because it accepted Chinese ceramics’ culture to develop it into a unique product to be distributed all over the world without imitating it completely.

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