« Les plumes (dé)masquées du CCJ ». Séance avec Charlotte Horlyck

Créées en 2020 pendant la pandémie, « Les plumes (dé)masquées du CCJ » offrent tous les deux mois un espace de discussion en hybride autour des livres publiés par les chercheurs du laboratoire Chine, Corée, Japon.

Exceptionnellement, la prochaine séance du lundi 17 avril à partir de 16h45 sera dédiée à une des quatre conférences de Charlotte Horlyck (département d’histoire de l’art de d’archéologie, SOAS / Université de Londres), invitée par Isabelle Sancho (CCJ-CRC) et Valérie Gelézeau (CCJ-CRC) dans le cadre du programme « Professeurs invités » de l’EHESS du 1er avril au 1er mai 2023.

La conférence sera discutée par Yolaine Escande (CNRS, CRAL, associée au CCJ-CECMC).

Date et heure

  • Lundi 17 avril 2023, de 16h45 à 18h

La conférence aura lieu en hybride :

  • Campus Condorcet, Bâtiment de recherche Sud, salle 0.015
    5 cours des Humanités, 93300 Aubervilliers
    Métro : Front populaire (ligne 12)

Contact : communicationccj@ehess.fr

Conférence : “Collecting frenzy of the 1910s”

In the 1910s Koryŏ celadon ceramics were acquired by private collectors and museum institutions in growing numbers, they were included in exhibitions in Europe and America, and detailed scholarship of them was published. The aesthetic quality of the wares was even argued to represent Korean art as a whole, as reflected in a note issued by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1915: “The soft green color, the faint, fine decoration […] fulfil perfectly the established ideas of what a production of the Hermit Kingdom should be.” 

During the 1910s numerous scholarly writings were published on Koryŏ ceramics, and authors continued to herald the Koryŏ kingdom as the “best period” of Korean ceramic manufacture. By pitting the glory of the past against the perceived decline of the Chosŏn kingdom, scholars reinforced the Japanese colonial narrative that Korea had fallen into decline during the Chosŏn rule and that it was Japan’s role to rectify this. That Koryŏ wares continued to be referred to as mortuary or tomb wares enhanced their appeal. Scholarship on East Asian stonewares was still developing, and collectors and dealers had difficulties in correctly identifying the wares, in particular Korean ones. The (mis-guided) belief that artefacts unearthed from Koryŏ graves were undeniably of local manufacture heightened the desire for mortuary wares as it was felt that such pieces could reliably be attributed a Koryŏ date. Equally problematic were the fakes that began to enter the market at this time. Many collectors were aware that imitations of ancient celadon wares were being produced in Japan, but believed that ceramics unearthed from tombs were unquestionably genuine.

In the 1910s, increased travel to East Asia led some collectors to source wares directly in Korea, among them the Englishman Aubrey Le Blond (1869-1951), who acquired around one-hundred-and-fifty Koryŏ ceramics when visiting Seoul in 1913. When it was lent to the V&A in 1914, it became the earliest exhibition of Korean ceramics held in the UK. When a few years later Le Blond donated the collection to the museum, it was believed to be the largest and most important collection of Korean ceramics in Europe. 

Le Blond’s timing was fortuitous since by the late 1910s access to good quality Korean antiques became increasingly difficult. In 1916, the Japanese colonial government issued the first of several regulatory measures aimed at protecting Korean cultural heritage. Moreover, increased competition among buyers in Europe, America, Korea and Japan for high quality Koryŏ ceramics resulted in soaring prices, making it impossible for collectors of moderate economic means to enter the market. As will be explored in the next seminar, it forced some to explore alternative types of objects, leading to interest in artefacts dating the Chosŏn kingdom that until then had largely been dismissed as being of lesser aesthetic value.

Citer ce billet
Chloé Loiseau (2023, 23 mars). « Les plumes (dé)masquées du CCJ ». Séance avec Charlotte Horlyck. Carnets de l'UMR Chine, Corée, Japon. Consulté le 16 avril 2024, à l’adresse https://doi.org/10.58079/md0o

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