A large lotus, one open and one closed, with secondary stems branching upward to the right and left, is painted with fluent brushwork on each side of this superb jar. Following the contours of the vessel, the decoration shows the close relationship between ceramics and painting in the Choson dynasty. The smooth, white-glazed
surface is treated like paper on which a brush was laid. It is recorded, in fact, that one of the responsibilities of Choson-dynasty court painters was to paint on ceramics. Porcelain decorated solely in underglaze red was manufactured at official government kilns at Punwon-ri in Kwangju and also at private kilns in the countryside. This jar is thought to belong to the second category on the basis of the high iron content in the glaze and the treatment of the foot. Underglaze copper red was a difficult material to handle and many pieces misfired. The even red found in the present example is very unusual.
A jar with a nearly identical lotus design in the Ataka Collection, in the Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka, has been frequently published. These publications include: Byung-Chull Rhee, Masterpieces of Korean Art - Yi Ceramics, (Tokyo, 1978), plate 359, color, (with footnote commenting on the vigorous painting and bold design of the jar without extra ornamentation such as a decorative collar or borders); in Itoh Ikutaro et al. Exhibition of Oriental Ceramics, Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka 1982, no. 134; and in Mino, Yutaka and Itoh Ikutaro, The Radiance of Jade and the Clarity of Water: Korean Ceramics from the Ataka Collection, The Art Institute of Chicago, 1991, plate 98.