A Study on White Porcelain Brush Cases in the Latter Part of Joseon
A brush case is to hold brushes used to write or paint and is one of the stationery objects. A brush case was one of the stationery objects that were made in the largest amount along with Yeonjeok during Joseon. Porcelain-type brush cases were all white porcelain, and their production began in the latter part of Joseon, when white porcelain brush cases were not only made to serve practical purposes, but also cherished by classical scholars as a piece of living art to appreciate.
There were three shapes of white porcelain brush cases: circle homotype, and square. The former was made more than the latter because it was easier to make and the most convenient to hold brushes. White porcelain brush cases were also divided into the ones with no patterns and the ones with patterns. They can further be classified into Somun, Cheolhwa, Cheonghwa, Yangak, Eumgak, and Tugak according to decoration techniques. Various patterns were used including plants, animals, flowers, and geometric ones, of which plant patterns recorded the highest percentage.
The production of white porcelain brush cases became active in the latter part of Joseon, when the production of the entire white porcelain stationery objects including brush cases was more active than the previous period. The emergence of white porcelain brush cases in the latter part of Joseon holds significance in two ways: first, the introduction of the appreciation culture became visible. At the end of Ming, there was a huge trend among literary figures to make the old tradition of literary figures' culture a part of their life, appreciate it, and enjoy is as part of their daily convention. The trend was still in vogue during the latter part of Joseon and resulted in the collection and appreciation of stationery antiques enjoyed by the noblemen. White porcelain brush cases emerged in the latter part of Joseon and made the introduction of this appreciation culture visible.
Secondly, it represented the popularization of white porcelain. In the latter part of Joseon, white porcelain was characterized by the Sabeon and privatization of branches, which created an opportunity for porcelain, which used to be restricted only to the ruling class, to spread to various social classes. White porcelain brush cases emerged and mass produced for these reasons.