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Epitaph Tablet for Bak Eun (1479-1504), from a Set of 14

Asian Art

When important individuals died during the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910), they were commemorated in lengthy epitaphs that were inscribed on durable surfaces for posterity. This set of fourteen plaques (we are showing only part of the set) records the biography and family history of a celebrated poet, Park Eun (1479–1504), and even includes examples of his verses. This is an unusually early example of the use of porcelain for preserving epitaphs. Prior to this period, epitaphs were carved into stone. In this early period, iron oxide was used to write the text, whereas later cobalt blue would be preferred.
MEDIUM Porcelain with underglaze
DATES 1509
DYNASTY Joseon dynasty
DIMENSIONS 9 3/8 × 6 7/8 × 1 in. (23.8 × 17.5 × 2.5 cm)
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CREDIT LINE Carroll Family Collection
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Epitaph plaque with 10 lines of text on the "recto" and one line of text on the "verso." One of 14 plaques commemorating Park Eun (1479-1504), a celebrated poet. The commemoration was written by a friend of the poet, Yi Haeng, four years after the poet's death. The calligraphy is by Yi Yeongwon. Epitaph plaques serve as memorials for the individuals with whom they were buried. They typically recount the career and ancestry of the subject, and were occasionally disinterred and replaced with updated versions. Most epitaph plaques were written in underglaze cobalt blue. This set is unusual because it is writen in underglaze iron red. The text is written in Korean in Chinese characters.
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