|This unique fire-gilded silver maebyong is an exquisite example of the best of Korean precious metalwork during the Goryeo era.|
Korean Goryeo Kingdom, circa 12th - 14th century CE
The use of the maebyong form in fire-gilded silver in Korea is apparently unknown and this remarkable example appears to be the only one in existence.
Towards the end of the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) the quality of ceramic production had declined markedly, but the art of metalwork flourished, particularly for items made for court and religious use.
The maebyong shape itself would indicate a date ranging from the 12th through 14th centuries, but several facts suggest this fire gilded silver example might date to the 13th or 14th century. Such a dating is determined by the elaborately and finely executed decoration that is almost completely Yuan (1279-1368) in origin. Even though the pre-Yuan Mongols invaded Korea (1231-1239), close cultural and diplomatic relations with the Yuan Empire and the Goryeo Court existed from the 13th until the mid-14th century.
Regardless of the exact date of manufacture, this possibly unique fire gilded silver maebyong is an exquisite example of the best of Korean precious metalwork during the Goryeo era.
|Analytical tests performed:- XRF analysis (Expert Analysis Williamsburg, Virginia)- Radiographic Examination(Expert Analysis Williamsburg, Virginia)- Metallographic Examination- Tool Marking, Construction, Patination Study (Stoetzer Inc.)|
The maebyong (meiping in Chinese) first appeared as a simple form during the Tang Dynasty and achieved its mature form during the 11th century in ceramic vessels to hold wine or flowering branches. Maebyong are typified by a narrow, slightly flaring foot, and a very wide shoulder that narrows to a small mouth with galleried lip.
Chinese sources record that meiping type shapes were made of stoneware during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), though these early vessels tended to be more melon shaped than the later forms. Examples in unglazed stoneware first appeared in Korea in the 11th century, during a time when the Northern Song Dynasty and the Korean Goryeo Kingdom were culturally and diplomatically connected. The use of the maebyong form in Korea saw its heyday during the 12th and 13th centuries and ostensibly disappeared after the fall of Goryeo in 1392.
|Provenance: Private collection 1962 or earlier|
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