Development of Jinsa Pigment of Joseon White Porcelain
Jinsa started to appear with designs like the brow of the decently standing crane, or the center of a petal leaf on the Goryo celadons in the middle of the 12th century. In the end of the 13th century when the Goryo dynasty began to decline, the tradition of Jinsa skill came to a halt. In the 17th century, after a long gap of 400 years, Jinsa began to be used again.
But the number of porcelains decorated with Jinsa was scarce. Only in some few works like a vase with ten longevity creatures, we can find the Jinsa technique. Furthermore, it is even more difficult to find Jinsa works with good color development. These few Jinsa porcelains that we have today undoubtedly contain enough values to be our cultural assets.
It was in 1883 that all the government-owned kilns were closed. In the next year, 1884, all the kilns became privately-owned.
With this change in system, the tradition of government kilns ceased and the passing down of ceramic art skills came to a halt.
It was not until the 1950s that people once again began to try Jinsa skills in traditional kilns. But their experiments with Jinsa were not very systematic.
The successful case was rare. Only small percentages of porcelains, less than 10%, came out from the kiln as satisfactory Jinsa piece.
Their efforts did not make much contribution to restoring the traditional Jinsa craft.
With the normalization of Korea-Japan diplomatic relationship in 1965, a number of Japanese tourists flowed into Korea.
Most of them were greatly interested in the Jinsa porcelains but we did not have enough Jinsa pots available from the traditional kilns. With the popularity of Jinsa ceramics among the Japanese visitors, the prices of Jinsa porcelains rose higher and higher.
For a successful Jinsa work, several conditions should be carefully considered.
For good color-development, the ceramic artist should be attentive to the composition of pigments, the selection of burning materials and the environment of burning kiln as well as the kiln itself. With these particular conditions, they could not produce enough Jinsa ceramics to meet the demand of foreign tourists.
Even today, we don´t have enough records about Jinsa because most of its information has been transmitted from mouth to mouth. With scarce written documents, modern ceramic artists could not solve the problems which they met unexpectedly.
It is easily imaginable they could never produce many Jinsa works of good quality.
Regretting this fact, I established the Hangsan Art Pottery in 1977.
My goal was to discover a Jinsa pigment which can be usable in the traditional kiln.
In order to increase the number of satisfactory Jinsa porcelains in a kiln, I started to investigate all the historical sources. With a result of this systematic research, I succeeded in developing a Jinsa pigment with which any ceramic artist can easily produce Jinsa porcelains of good quality.
On July 27, 2005 I registered this pigment as a patent for the manufacturing skills of Joseon white porcelain and Jinsa pigment (Patent No. 050619).
And I opened the results of my studies for students of ceramic art in the Ceramic Journal , October 2006. Since 2007, I have been making studies on the gold Jinsa pigment, using high-quality 24k gold which can create a red color with a partnership from Myunggi University, Korea.
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