MANILA, Philippines - Ceramics are more than just tiles, dinnerware, bricks, and other by-products of pottery. They are more than just firing the kiln and burning the earth to create a vessel or a jar. Ceramics are strong fragile parts of human life.
Without ceramics, the modern world won't exist. Without ceramics, there would be no steel and metals to create automobiles, machineries, plans, and other things that need these items for construction. With ceramics as sophisticated refractory materials, people would be able to produce iron and non-ferrous metal.
Can you imagine life without buildings and houses? Thanks to ceramics, we won't have to worry about such problems. Construction industries pretty much depend on ceramics, particularly bricks and cements, to build infrastructure.
Electricity also depends on ceramics for high tensions insulation. As an excellent insulator, ceramics make it possible for electric companies to safely carry electricity to houses and businesses.
"Ceramics is a repository of culture and history which encapsulates human existence. Introducing ceramics is equivalent to introducing culture, history, and current social structure. Ceramics are living culture," says Hong won Lee of the Korea Ceramic Foundation, an established international entity that promotes and develops artistic endeavors related to ceramic art.
From the earliest civilizations, the technology and applications of ceramics have come a long way from mere basic earthenwares to modern ceramics. It is just right to take a closer look at these living cultures through the "Living Ceramics: The Modern Touch of Korean Heritage" exhibit at the Korean Cultural Center in Taguig City. The exhibit showcased the celebrated Korean ceramic tradition which has been infused with modern touches and techniques throughout the history of Korea.
Korean ceramic tradition began from earthenware culture back in 6000 BC, during the Goryeo Dynasty in the 12th century, which displayed its high stature throughout the world with its own unique celadon green ceramic. One of the most celebrated ceramic forms in Korea, celadon is characterized by its bisaek, the blue oxidized iron within the clay, as well as its jade-green color.
The Joseon Dynasty in 15th century had seen the rise of baekja, the white porcelain ceramic made of white clay, with transparent glaze, which seems harder and clearer than most ceramics produced that era.
"Based on Confucian philosophy and Sunbi (a virtuous scholar) culture, it highlighted the advanced aesthetic sense of the Koreans which surpassed even the minimalism and monochrome painting techniques of modern arts," shares Hong won Lee.
The buncheong also thrived during the Joseon period. This ceramic form is characterized by white slip covers with bold and complicated designs. It is considered the "most Korean" of all the forms because it embodies the emerging Korean culture.
Korean ceramic entered its dark age during the colonial occupation of Korea (1910 to 1945). The war didn't make it easy for ceramics to thrive. But following the end of war, the ceramic culture re-emerged and led the way towards the modern tradition.
"The efforts to trace and redevelop the Korean traditional ceramic technology and production process, together with the creative will to express modern art with earth, is drawing worldwide attention from the ceramic industry," shares Hong won Lee.
He continues: "Nowadays, Korean ceramics is continuously being researched and efforts are being made to overcome the limitations of ceramics by extending its scope through the convergence of other art genres with ceramics."
The exhibit highlighted the unique fusion of ceramics with various fields such as crafts, industry, information technology, visual media, and especially food design. It is geared towards putting Korean traditional dining customs on the cultural awareness of the Filipinos. …