For other punch'ong flasks incised with fish and with similar edge designs see Mishima henko ten/Exhibition of Punch'ong ware of Yi-Dynasty, Korea (Osaka: Museum of Oriental Ceramics, 1984); Byung-chang Rhee, Masterpieces of Korean Art--Yi Ceramics (Tokyo: privately published, 1978), pl. 58, no. 61; Hwang Su-Young, The Masterpieces of Korean Art (Seoul: Taewha Publications Co., 1987), pl. 137; Masterpieces of Punchong Ware from the Ho-Am Art Museum (Seoul: Samsung Art and Culture Foundation, 1993), pl. 88; G. St. G. M. Gompertz, Korean Pottery and Porcelain of the Yi Period (London: Faber and Faber, 1968), no. 34A, Honolulu Academy of Arts
Other punch'ong incised flasks were sold in these Rooms March 26, 1991, lot 283; April 27, 1993, lot 11; and April 26, 1995, lot 33 (also incised with a large fish).
With the advent of punch'ong (literally "powder green")--a greyish stoneware brushed with white slip--a robust new era of ceramic design was ushered in by the early Choson potters. Bold and uncompromising, this bottle is decorated with fish swimming among water plants rendered in a typically playful and humorous manner. The carved design exhibits a spontaneity that has been greatly admired not only in Korea but also in Japan and the West in this century.
Decoration characterized by sgraffito and brushed slip is associated with the kilns of Cholla province in the southwest. The underglaze white slip is thickly applied. It is typical of Choson stoneware that the coarse clay body is heavily potted, the slip roughly brushed over the surface and the glaze thin and transparent, with a faint greenish cast.
This bottle is unusual because it has survived intact with no damage to the neck.
A closely related bottle--most likely a product of the same kiln--is illustrated in Chung Yang Mo, Punch'ong sagi (Punch'ong ceramics), Hanguk mi (Korean beauty), vol. 3 (Seoul: Joong-ang Ilbosa, 1994), pl. 80, Treasure no. 178.