Icheon pottery

Having been a potter in my younger days, I often seek out traditional ceramics when I travel. Not to be confused with Incheon, the city with the major airport serving Seoul, South Korea, the town of Icheon is known as a pottery center and is about an hour southeast of Seoul. The area came to be known as a producer of traditional pottery during the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910) and its heyday lasted for about 500 years. Today there are about eighty operating pottery houses.

The main street in Icheon was crammed with pottery shops, wares spread out before open doors: tall grain pots and round-bellied kimchee pots of dark brown clay, sparsely glazed with a brushed decoration if at all.

Kimchee pots
An Icheon potter at work
A gallery sign
Sculpture at Icheon Museum
Anagama kiln at Icheon Museum
Kiln close-up
Roadside pots

Among these folk pots, painted pots, and more modern art creations were the celadon pots I sought. An art form recently resurrected from old times, the cloudy pale green glaze has a delicately crackled surface.

Celadon tiles
My Korean celadon pot

And, of course, a lunch of many small dishes and a few other memorable images.

Other posts in South Korea: The soul of Seoul, busy Busan, ancient GyeongJu.

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Published by rkrontheroad

Writer, photographer, traveler

42 thoughts on “Icheon pottery

  1. Careers that come with seeing the ending result of work are slowly becoming rare, and that’s why I love pottery. The beauty of hand-thrown dishware and vases are the imperfections that distinguish each special piece πŸ€— thanks for sharing and have a good day ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! The patience, the slow pace of making pottery, is part of its draw, almost like a meditation. And the timing of trimming the pot when not quite dry, and having enough pots to fill a kiln to schedule a firing, is all part of the production process, even for an amateur potter. You have to love it if you do it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your little celadon pot! I’m reminded of the beautiful13th century Koryo celadon vase decorated with cranes that I saw in the historical museum in Kaesong. Our UK guide told me that a friend of his, an expert in ceramics, had estimated its value at c Β£2M, but it was displayed in the simplest of glass cases with no apparent security around it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The crane vase sounds beautiful. You don’t usually see a celadon glaze with other decorations. Glad to know North Korea is still treasuring its history and arts. I often pick up pottery, not big pieces or expensive, when I travel. I have one small plate from Japan with brush strokes that look like grain that’s the most expensive (you wouldn’t guess it), but I fell in love with it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Glad you found it – I was about to point you towards a photo! I bought a small oval plate from an art shop in Pyongyang in a similar design, just to remind me of that vase πŸ™‚ I must write a post about that museum some time soon!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I can see why you would go there. That celadon pottery is absolutely beautiful. Your post reminded me of pottery towns, or neighbourhoods, in India, and Cambodia. And of a man hand-crafting a Hittite jug in Turkey.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The celadon pot would’ve been my choice as well (at least from the photos here). Beautiful piece! Never seen the cracked-finish look before, nor the particular shade of green. You give us another reason to visit South Korea someday.

    Liked by 2 people

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