Art Moment: A Korean “Longevity Jar”

Storage jar with moon, pines, and crane motifs. Korea, Joseon period, circa. Mid-18th century. Porcelain painted with underglaze cobalt blue. H: 44.5 cm (17.5 cm). Asia Society, New York. Mr. And Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection.

Long life is regarded as a blessing in Asian cultures and the wish for longevity is frequently immortalized in art through motifs such as the moon, crane and pine trees. In this exquisite Korean jar that dates to the Joseon period (circa mid-18th century), all three longevity symbols are present, making their appearance under a lovely cobalt blue glaze. The auspiciousness of the symbols are complemented by the jar’s elegant shape, marked by a distinctly broad shoulder that tapers gently to the foot.

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