[KS] art history question

Youngsook Pak yp at soas.ac.uk
Sun Sep 13 18:16:46 EDT 2015

Dear Mr. Zatouchi,

Lotus is a universal symbol of sun, even birth and death, in ancient Egypt,
Greece, and Hindism, long before it became the central motif in Buddhist

Youngsook Pak

(Professor of Korean Art History)

On 11 September 2015 at 09:55, Andrew <zatouichi at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear Maya and Soyoung,
> Thanks for your responses.
> I understand Maya's points on comparative methodology and do not mean to
> imply any hyperdiffusion theory or direct contact between Korea and ancient
> Greece. To my knowledge, Three Kingdoms and earlier earthenware do not have
> the lotus or cloud/wave designs but I assume some Chinese (southern or
> northern?) ceramics contemporary to the introduction of celadon to Goryeo,
> must have - (or are they found on bronzes?)
> I find it hard to believe the ancient Mediterranean patterning is a
> coincidence; some of the items have the 'lotus petals' around the base and
> neck, and geometric cloud/wave just below the neck, very similar to the
> convention on medieval maebyeong. What I hope art historians might have
> common knowledge of is whether this design is found in India or the Middle
> East and which direction it might have traveled.
> Is there concrete evidence that the lotus petals have always been lotus
> petals, or could it have been a reinterpretation of an existing
> conventional design? The same pattern could take on new interpretations
> according to local culture (as e.g. the reinterpretation of Buddhist
> symbols by Confucian literati {or were they still culturally Buddhist?})
> Separately, in Thailand I've seen very high quality celadons, with
> iron-ore painted fish designs similar to the fish on *buncheong-sagi*. I
> always wonder about the fish on early Joseon *buncheong* because they are
> absent from the preceding Goryeo celadon.
> sincerely
> Andrew
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