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profile: Jar with designs of tortoises and cranes profile: Jar with designs of tortoises and cranes

Jar with designs of tortoises and cranes

Historical period(s)
Joseon period, 19th century
Porcelain with cobalt pigment under transparent, colorless glaze
Bunwon ware
H x W: 30.5 x 31.8 cm (12 x 12 1/2 in)
Korea, Gyeonggi-do province, Gwangju county, Bunwon-ri, Bunwon kilns
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
According to East Asian belief, the crane, depicted twice on this jar, becomes immortal at the age of two thousand, while the tortoise is said to live for ten thousand years. Auspicious symbols decorated many porcelain jars used for storage in the kitchens of nobility. Here, the tortoise rises from the waves in his role as messenger of the dragon king, who dwells in a palace at the bottom of the sea. The stylized "cloud collar" surrounding the neck is typical of cobalt-decorated jars made at the official Bunwon kiln.

From at least 1969 to 1970
Daisho Commercial & Industrial Co., Ltd, Tokyo, from at least February 12, 1969 [1]

From 1970
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Daisho Commercial & Industrial Co., Ltd., March 16, 1970 [2]


[1] See correspondence dated February 12, 1969, authorizing Mr. Yoshinobu Daisho to ship the object, along with two other objects, to the Freer Gallery, copy in object file. A receipt, dated May 13, 1969, confirms the delivery of the objects to the Freer Gallery for the consideration for purchase, copy in object file.

[2] See Invoice issued by the Daisho Commercial & Industrial Co., Ltd, dated March 16, 1970, copy in object file.

Former owner
Daisho Commercial & Industrial Co., Ltd.
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel
Bunwon ware, clear glaze, cobalt pigment, crane, Joseon period (1392 - 1910), Korea, porcelain, WWII-era provenance
Collection(s) Area
Korean Art
Web Resource(s)
Korean Ceramics, Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum

The Freer|Sackler is currently closed for renovations, updates, and gallery reinstallation. The popular exhibition Turquoise Mountain: Artists Transforming Afghanistan is still on view in the International Gallery. (Enter through the Ripley Center.) Please join us for our weekend-long reopening celebration on October 14 and 15, 2017.