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Crockery and Clayware

Overview

onggi
There are two basic forms of onggi: gilgeuleut onggi and ojigeuleut onggi. Each is fired and glazed differently.
There are two basic forms of onggi: gilgeuleut onggi and ojigeuleut onggi. Each is fired and glazed differently. The first written reference to the word ‘ong’ of ong-gi is found in Samguk Yusa (Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms), compiled in the late Goryeo period (1281). In Yukjeon Jorye, compiled in the late Joseon (1866), onggi is further classified into dae-ong (large), jung-ong (medium), and so-ong (small). In Gyuhap Chongseo (Guide on Housekeeping), written in the Korean alphabet during the Joseon period, no such word as ‘ong,’ is found. Instead, it uses the word ‘dok,’ meaning a storage jar.

Origin of Onggi

Onggi is produced today in much the same way as earthenware was made during the Silla period. It is made by coiling clay on the potter’s wheel. The outer wall is then beaten with a pestle while pressing the inner wall with a supporting tool. The design patterns on the surface and body are similar to those used for earthenware vessels. Thus, the evolution of onggi is based on the tradition of earthenware from the Three Kingdoms period. Jilgeureut from the Goryeo period is very much like onggi today.