The black glazed porcelains melted with history, authenticity and the soul of a master

Ceramics master Heonchul Shin makes a mark in history 홍기인 기자l승인2024.01.17l수정2024.01.17 13:58

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The name black glazed porcelain was started to be used from early 20th century. Yet it has a thousand years of history made and used since Goryeo Dynasty. It was relatively less known compared to celadon and white porcelain but was widely used by ordinary people in daily lives.

 

A thousand years of history breathes in everyday life of ordinary

Black glazed porcelains were produced nationwide from early Goryeo Dynasty. As they went into early Joseon Dynasty, they were produced in a little number alongside buncheong ware and white porcelain. During this period, black glazed porcelains were made for storage containers with some for plates, cups and foots of objects. When Joseon entered into modern society, some makers started selling them at a department store targeting Japanese. At this time, they were mostly produced in Icheon City also famous for lacquer. The scope expanded to jars and bottles a number of kilns were built in 1949 and the one in 1962 is now a nationally registered cultural property.

 

Reproduce of black glazed porcelains

The 41 kiln sites were discovered so far of which 14 with remains mostly in Gyeonggi Province. Among the excavation team were ceramics master Heonchul Shin who looked with attention to status, forms and soil. The items were many and variety in culinary-related. “I was surprise to see that they made culinary with black glazed porcelain for daily use as I’m working on for many years. So I think I have been on the right track in producing black glazed porcelain. It is also meaningful that my works are academically backed up.” says Shin.

 

▲ 연파(連波) 신현철(申鉉哲) 도예명장(名匠)

Spreading the beautiful colors of Korean black glazed porcelain to the world

Black glazed porcelains create a beautiful color beyond black when they go through the kiln. To do this, Shin has focused on making the most of the glaze used for celadon and white porcelain alongside the soil. He also traveled Gwangju City Gyeonggi Province in search of the sites and recorded his findings. Through this process, he could be able to make his own glaze which eventually led to his unique works of black glazed porcelain. The products span from teaware to bottles, censers, and pottery for daily use. He also applies ‘yeonhwamoon’ to his works and garnered attention. He has spent many day and night studying colors of black, glaze and weight. Those who have seen his black glaze porcelains gave praise overseas and some of his works are housed in museums including the States, Japan and China. “Ceramics respond to the maker’s emotion, inner sound and existence and it is a result of maker’s life. As a black glazed porcelain master, I will keep carrying on my zeal in producing beautiful works.”

Shin has held around 50 times of solo and invitational exhibitions including Japan, China and Finland. He won the first prize at the Uiheung International Ceramic Art Exhibition in 2001 and served as a judge of the 12th Ceramic Arts Award of Korea 2015. Some of his works are housed in the National Museum of Korea and other notable museums in the States, Japan and China.


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