Chosen jodai, Korai (Ancient Korea, Koryo), Sekai toji zenshu (Collection of world's ceramics), ed. Koyama Fujio, vol. 13 (Tokyo: Zauho and Kawade shobo, 1961), no. 133
Nezu Museum of Art, ed., Chosen no meito--Senshi kara Richo made (Masterpieces of Korean Ceramics--from the Prehistoric period to the Choson dynasty) (Tokyo: Nezu Art Museum, November, 1966), no. 56
Byung-chang Rhee, Masterpieces of Korean Art--Koryo Ceramics (Tokyo: privately published, 1978), no. 310
This ware is extremely rare--only a handful are known to survive. The entire body of the vase was coated with an iron pigment. Next, the leaf design was scraped away and the thin outlines and stem incised. Then the design was inlaid with white slip. The vase was then covered with a celadon glaze and fired. Seen through this glaze, the black ground is softened and takes on a slightly green tonality. Although it is the slip and not the glaze that appears black, this ware is known as black ware and is characteristic of the Koryo dynasty.
The two clusters of white ninjin (herb) leaves, back and front, seem to float across the swelling shoulders of this vase, making a pleasing color contrast. The slip is brushed on in a casual and free manner quite unlike the more precise execution of inlaid designs on Koryo-dynasty green celadons. The rich yet subtle color tonalities and the impressive form of this vase are also outstanding.
Another vase with nearly identical design that must be the work of the same potter is in the collection of the National Museum of Korea, Seoul (Korai [Koryo], Sekai toji zenshu [Collection of world's ceramics], ed. Zauho Press, vol. 18 [Tokyo: Shogakukan, 1978], pl. 111; Choi Soon-woo, Chungja [Celadon], Hanguk mi [Korean beauty], vol. 4 [Seoul: Joong-ang Ilbosa, 1981], pl. 177). A group of five similar black ware vases with white slip design is illustrated by Koyama Fujio in his essay on Koryo black wares in Chosen kodai, Korai, loc. cit., p. 257.