Blue-and-white octagonal water dropper with floral design

Accession Number

Blue-and-white octagonal water dropper with floral design


Artist Nationality
Korean (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
late 19th century

Medium & Support
porcelain with blue underglaze painting

1 5/16 x 2 5/8 x 2 5/8 in. (3.3 x 6.6 x 6.6 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Caroline I. Plumer for the James Marshall Plumer Collection

Subject matter
Water droppers were a necessary stationery items for scholars. They were produced in various shapes and sizes and featured a variety of decorative motifs in the late Joseon period. This particular dropper has a flower motif.

Physical Description
It is in the shape of a flat disk with octagonal sides, a type that was widely produced in the 19th century. The center of the top surface features a flower petal in a darkish cobalt blue pigment. A pale blue glaze applied over the entire surface, but has a slightly hue. The pigment used on the flower is also applied around the edgesof the octagon, more heavily so in the corners.

This water dropper was produced at a kiln in Bunwon-ri, Gwangju-si, Gyeonggi-do at the end of 19th century. Its upper surface features an outline painted around the edge and a floral spray design in the center, both rendered in cobalt blue. The design is bluish black in color, a phenomenon sometimes caused by high iron and manganese content in the cobalt underglaze. The water dropper remains intact, except for a slight damage to its spout. The sand spur marks left around the foot are often found on white porcelain produced at private kilns within the vicinity of Bunwon-ri area after the privatization of Bunwon-ri kilns.
[Korean Collection, University of Michigan Museum of Art (2014) p.183]

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type
water dropper

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
ceramic (material)
flower (motif)
porcelain (material)
vessels (containers)

1 Related Resource

Cobalt & Blue
(Part of: Exchange and Influence on Global Trade Routes)

& Author Notes

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