Yanagi, Ceramics and the Craft Values of Korean Aesthetics

Rosa Fernandez-Gomez


The long Japanese tradition of Korean ceramics appreciation, closely associated with the Zen tea ceremony (chanoyu), has played an important role in the development of Korean aesthetics in the twentieth century. The art critic and philosopher Yanagi Soetsu was instrumental in this process during the occupation period, since, continuing in this tradition, he particularly valued Joseon ceramics for their aesthetic qualities - such as naturalness, nonchalance, and simplicity - akin to praised values in Zen Buddhism. Yanagi’s pioneering writings might have been influential in the prevalence of those traits when defining Korean art and aesthetics in general. After a brief presentation of key expressions defining Korean art and aesthetics, the paper focuses on Yanagi’s aesthetic assessment of Joseon ceramics and particularly on his proposal of its appreciation beyond the modern Western division between art and craft. 


Korean Aesthetics; Craft; Yanagi Soetsu; modern System of the Arts; Everyday

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6622522

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ESPES. The Slovak Journal of Aesthetics (ISSN 1339-1119) is published biannually by Faculty of Arts, University of Presov, Slovakia and the Society for Aesthetics in Slovakia

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