Pottery-making techniques were transmitted from China to Korea over 1,000 years ago. The techniques flourished, thus producing an artistic tradition of which they are justifiably proud. The subtle beauty and unique bluish-green color of the celadon pottery of the Koryo Dynasty (918-1392) have made it world famous. Korean artisans have developed a superbly controlled glaze that is both beautiful and unique because it fully utilizes the properties of Korea's rich clay. The highest praise is given to the color of the glaze - a delicate kingfisher green celadon inlaid with a pictorial under-glaze, called sanggamch'ongja. It occupies the central position in Koryo celadons. The motifs and decorations are additional reasons for its popularity among art lovers.
Since ancient times, weaving fabric for home use was one of the most important tasks of the Korean woman. From the Choson period, the weaving of hemp or flax, ramie, cotton, muslin, and silk were prevalent. Today, the Korean government encourages the preservation of traditional weaving and cloth-making techniques by designating "human cultural assets" to those who pass their skills to the younger generation.
While Koreans have long favored white, the hanbok (traditional female dress) has been made in a myriad of colors over the centuries. The colors used in Korean clothing are derived from the five basic colors of East Asian cosmology: red, blue, yellow, white, and black. They symbolize five cardinal directions and elements that create all matter in the universe. Contrasting colors are used to create different effects. Many of the old dyeing techniques are still used to create traditional fabrics. Natural dyes made from flowers or barks are often used.
Calligraphy, the art of brush writing, is a traditional art form in Korea. It has exerted a strong influence socially and culturally and is still highly respected today.
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