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Meaning of Design in Korean Celadon
Both the designs and shapes used in Koryo celadon were representations of the spiritual beliefs of the Korean people. These beliefs were fostered by Shamanism, and the Buddhist beliefs of the era. Following are the symbols most commonly used on inlaid celadon and their meanings.
Circle: The circle represents the Sun and worship for the Sun. Fish: The fish represents a superior realization.
Lotus: The lotus stands for the Sun and mercy of Buddha Tiger: The tiger design symbolizes a guardian, and charm.
Peony: The peony depicts richness and honors. Dragon: The dragon stands for the all mighty.
Duck: The duck symbolizes the Premiere ranking. Chrysanthemum: The chrysanthemum symbolizes health and well being.
Crane: The crane represents Immortality Pine Tree: The pine tree depicts royalty and fidelity.
In addition to the above symbols and their meanings, the actual shape of the vessels has meaning as well. The shapes of the vessels are derived from nature, as in the case of the bamboo shoot-shaped pot shown here, or the Korean melon (Cham-wae) shaped vase here. Other shapes adopted from nature include animal shaped vessels or those with animals as part of their shapes like the turtle decorated incense burner here. The human form is also subtly represented in Korean pottery. The bottles and vases (Ju-byeong, Mae-byeong), represent female and male respectively. The long slender shape of the bottles with a gentle slope at the bottom expresses the voluptuous beauty of femininity, while the wide shoulder and stockiness of the vases, here, displays the masculine form.