The forty-eight exquisite works on loan from the distinguished collection of the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, represent the period of highest achievement in the Korean peninsula's long ceramic tradition. Dating from the twelfth to the nineteenth century, the selection includes luminous jade–green celadon wares of the Koryo dynasty (918–1392) as well as superb examples of the innovative stoneware known as punch'ong and white porcelains of the Choson dynasty (1392–1910). The objects are exhibited alongside the Metropolitan's own Korean art collection.
Nearly half of the objects in the exhibition were created during the Koryo dynasty, when firing and glazing techniques perfected by the Korean potter were prized by the Chinese. One of the highlights of the exhibition is a twelfth-century ewer with a reverse-inlaid floral design. The fully rounded body, finely executed design, and reverse-inlay technique distinguish this ewer as a masterpiece among Korean inlaid celadon wares. Other noteworthy pieces include an exquisite celadon water-dropper in the shape of a girl, and a classic maebyong (prunus vase) decorated with a design of bamboo and cranes, both of which date to the twelfth century. The exhibition also features outstanding examples of Choson ceramics with underglaze cobalt-blue, copper-red, and iron-brown decorations.
The Museum of Oriental Ceramics was established in 1982 by the City of Osaka to house the renowned Ataka collection, a gift from the twenty-one companies of the Sumitomo Group consisting of some one thousand ceramics, more than two-thirds of which were produced in Korea. Today, the museum's collection, which has doubled in size, ranks among the finest assemblages of Korean ceramics in the world.
The exhibition was made possible by The Kun-Hee Lee Fund for Korean Art.