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Contemporary art

Asian art

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Punch'ông ware jar

circa 1990


Yoon Kwang-cho


1946 -


In a seeming contradiction of its substance as an object, this unusual jar carries inscriptions from a Buddhist text on nothingness. The potter, a Buddhist who lives in the mountains of Kwangju, believes that dedication and painstaking effort are an essential part of the creative process. His work is praised for its individuality and for its imaginative embrace of antiquity, particularly the austere but beautiful aesthetic of the uniquely Korean 'punch'ong' (literally 'powder green') ceramics of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In this engaging object the artist has employed the 'sgraffito' technique in which the vessel, made in this case by the coiling method, is then beaten and its surface scoured in an instant 'maturing' process before being covered with a white slip. The characters have then been scratched through the thin slip. This rich combination of contemporary individuality with a spirit of antiquity expresses the ideals of purity, honesty and humble sparseness so admired by the connoisseurs and tea masters of modern Japan.

Art Gallery Handbook, 1999. pg. 267.


Other Title

Punch'ong ware jar

Alternative title

Powder green ware jar

Place where the work was made



circa 1990

Media category


Materials used

stoneware with slip decoration


39.0 x 31.0 cm


Purchased with assistance from an anonymous donor 1992


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Yoon Kwang-cho

Works in the collection


Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 4 publications


Edmund Capon AM, OBE, Art Gallery of New South Wales: highlights from the collection, Sydney, 2008, 181 (colour illus.).

Bruce James, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'Asian Collection: East Asia', pg. 246-287, Sydney, 1999, 267 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies, AGNSW Collections, 'Asian Art - India, South-East Asia, China, Tibet, Korea, Japan', pg. 173-228, Sydney, 1994, 211 (colour illus.).

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2003, 187 (colour illus.).