There may be some differences
of artistic sense and emotion among nations, but Koryo Celadon, boasting its
beautiful color, represents the traditional work of art in Korea and is loved by all the
people both in the
East and the West.
With assurance of
infinite possibility for the profound and extreme beauty of Koryo Celadon to
influence the world, I decided to start my new life as ceramic artist at the
age of more than 40. My pseudonym,
Hyuk-San, meaning a red or shining mountain, was given in the early 1960s by an
esteemed person, before I started making celadon. Come to think of it now, the name was meant
to be a sign of my destiny as ceramic artist.
Dongkukyo is located at Suha-Ri, away from the center of Icho
could mean either a village underneath water or a village with abundant water
underneath the earth and without any
damage from water even during the rainy
season in summer.
Suha-Ri, in a word, is
a village living with water. Water,
together with clay and fire, is a main source in potting, which is indeed
art of harmony among good clay, clean water, and proper
It was in 1971, 30 years ago from now, when I first fired the kiln named
Dongkukyo in which Dongkuk is an old name of Korea or Koryo Dynasty’s
historical name meaning eastern country.
The road to Dongkukyo is now well paved even for coach to move in and
out. In the early days, however, it was
very muddy everywhere and difficult to walk around even with boots. But, these inferior circumstances could not
stop me from enthusiasm for celadon.
Only with desire and ambition for celadon, I read the concerned books
over and again, and had to go to Kangjin-Kun in Chonnam
Province tens of times to
find the most similar raw materials and search for celadon fragments of the Koryo period. Kangjin-Kun is in fact known as a birthplace
of Koryo Celadon. It was my firm belief
that good clay and glaze are prerequisite for the re-making of Koryo Celadon,
and I was fortunate enough to have those who understood my literal-minded
pursuance and extended support. The late
Soon-Woo Choi, former curator of the National Museum of Korea, encouraged me
with comment that my works were the most resembled to Koryo Celadon of the 12th
century in terms of color and shape.
Thanks to the late Byong-Chul Lee, former chairman of Samsung group, I
was able to open the first personal exhibition at Sinsegae department store in
should also extend my sincere pray for the happiness of the late Young-Jae Ko,
the late Ki-Hyun Joo and the late Yong-Keun Sun who laid the foundation to
Dongkukyo. In addition, I should also
extend my deep appreciation to such people as Mr. Soon-Sup Choi, Mr. Kato
Masai, my intimate friend who had been helping me under difficult situations,
Mr. and Mrs. Nakayama Eiichi, chairman of the Japanese Society for Loving and
Cherishing Dongkukyo, Mr. Baba Naoto, to name only a few.
Nothing could possibly be compared with the happiest moment of my life,
after repetitive experiments and hardships for years, when I came across the
clay in 1975 in Kyeyul-Ri, Daegu-Myeun, Kangjin-Kun in Chonnam
The clay was supposed to be the most similar
to the one from the Koryo period, and it was the biggest luck to
Dongkukyo. I could not sleep at all as I
was so excited as if to find the whole celadon of the ancient times. There were of course many difficulties in my
life. A member of Dongkukyo left me
without a word, and there were some complications with celadon merchants. But, I regard them as good guider and
contributor to demonstrate the true value of celadon from Dongkukyo.
I have been living under my motto “Do not wish or expect something from
what I want in mind.” Dongkukyo still
looks as same as it was in the beginning in its shape, but I have been doing my
utmost to produce the best quality of celadon from Dongkukyo with my spirit,
together with good clay and glaze.
I am now in the age of 80s, maybe the oldest among the Korean ceramic
artists. But, what I have in my life
ahead will also be spared with what I have been doing up to now so as to remake
and develop Koryo Celadon with such mysterious and blue color and to have my
goal of life in success. Should
reciprocal compensation be made, this would be a reply to all those who had
been extending their
indispensable assistance and support.