Featured Acquisition: Young Sook Park, “Moon Jar, No. 9”, 2003 

Young Sook Park (b. 1947)

Moon Jar, No. 9, 2003 

Porcelain with white glaze

19 x 19 x 19 inches

Signed ‘Park . 03 . 9’ on bottom

Literature: 

Park Young-Sook, et al., Park Young-Sook’s White Porcelain Moonjar, exh. cat., Show Gallery, New York and Gallery Hyundai, Seoul, 2006, throughout 

Fine Collection of Raving Beauty, New Vision in Ceramic, Park Young Sook, exh. cat., RH Gallery, New York and Seoul, 2012, pp. 3-4 

A World of Glowing White, The Porcelain Art of Park Young Sook, exh. cat., The Choi Sunu House, Seoul, 2015, pp. 43, 79, 81

Evoking a celestial body, Park Young Sook’s “Moon Jar” is the realization of the artist’s dedicated study and honoring of the tradition of Korean ceramics. 

The origin of the moon jar form dates to late-seventeenth to mid-eighteenth century Korea, when the elegant, large vessels were used for storing rice or alcohol, and occasionally for the display of flowers. The court and nobility of the Joseon Dynasty celebrated the moon jar for its pure-white glazed surface and seeming simplicity of form, which they considered to be an expression of Korean neo-Confucian ideals. The difficult medium and the technically-demanding scale of the moon jar attest to the profound level of skill achieved by Joseon craftsmen. The generous, spherical shape of the vessel is formed of two parts, joined together at their largest circumference, creating a unique contour around the luminous form. 

Through devoted experimentation, Park employs traditional methods together with her own techniques to create a modern evocation of the moon jar. Demonstrating her patience and mastery of the form and material, she sought to increase the height of her vessels while reducing the thickness of their walls when compared to historical examples. 

This vessel is number 9 from the artist’s first successful firing of moon jars in 2003.

Park was raised in Gyeongju, once the capital of the ancient Silla Dynasty.  This famed artistic enclave informed and inspired her dedication to mastering the art of traditional Korean pottery-making.

Park spent her childhood among the eighth-century Bulguska Buddhist temple, surrounded by historical art and artifacts. Exploring the surrounding history, she began collecting antiquities from a young age, later attributing her skill for ratio and proportion in her ceramics to this distinctive environment. 

Renowned world wide for her technical abilities, versatility and precision, Park is recognized for her dedication to capturing the long-lost artistic traditions of Korea. In reviving the once lost methods of the Joseon potters, Park combines color, form, and proportion so as not to distract from the viewer’s gaze, embracing the vessel’s pleasing “full moon” shape. 

Young Sook Park’s work is found in permanent collections around the world, including the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, CA; Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA; British Museum of Art; Korean National Folklore Museum, Seoul, Korea; Musée Royal de Mariemont, Morlanwelz, Belgium; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Canadian Government House, Ottawa, Canada; Korean Consulate, New York, NY;  Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.