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Lee, Heekyung (2003) Institutions and vessels in East Asia: Exploring a new approach for the study of medieval and early modern wares, applied to the origin of early Ming imperial underglaze blue ceramics and their introduction into Korea. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This dissertation challenges the traditional understanding of the origin of certain East Asian vessels. Instead of focusing on a stylistic analysis, it pursues a cross-boundary exploration of the institutions created by state religion and philosophy; the contemporary religions of the courts and high society; law; politics; and economic realities, in more than one country. This study attempts to provide a new way of understanding certain types of the decorative art, as well as the societies in which they arose. The scale of the production of underglaze blue wares dramatically increased during Yuan, at the Jingdezhen kiln complexes in Jiangxi Province in China. Those vessels produced for use at early Ming imperial court achieved the most refined form. Certain elements commonly found in similar West Asian vessel raise an important issue, however. Prior to the evolution of these wares and their impacts upon vessels in Japan, West Asia, Europe and elsewhere through the development of systematic commercial trade relations, already by the early Ming dynasty, their influences was being felt over wide areas of East Asia, including Korea and Southeast Asia. In Korea, wares for use at the royal court, were being manufactured at the Kwangju kiln complex in Kyonggi Province, from early Choson. This study explores the systematic factors that lay behind this production, by exploring how ancient Chinese religions, Confucianism and Buddhism, converged and came to require certain wares for use in high society in China, and its neighbouring countries, such as Korea, during the medieval and early modern period. It pursues the question of how this demand was expressed visually in the production of a specific type of vessel - underglaze blue wares - in the early Ming period, and in Korea. This is situated in the complex cultural and economic milieu of the respective societies and periods.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:01

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