Earthenware Jar

unknownRepublic of Korea/Since the Liberation of Korea

National Folk Museum of Korea

National Folk Museum of Korea

Dongi, also called muldongi, is a jar used for fetching water. It was also used for serving or warming rice cakes and banquet dishes, and for offering rice at shrines. The dongi shown here is made of brass and has a wide, flat mouth and a shallow, flat bottom with a bell-shaped foot. Some dongi have two handles attached to the body. It generally has the capacity to carry 18 ℓ of soy beans, and therefore served as a standard for measuring liquid volume. As brassware became a necessity even for commoners in the late Joseon Dynasty, small vessels such as rice bowls and soup bowls were produced by a relatively easy casting process. Even at that time, dongi was made through the method of hammering by hand. A hand-hammered jar was not prone to cracking, and became glossier with lasting use. Due to the widespread use of briquettes, however, dongi became less popular since gases from burning briquettes caused brassware to become discolored and rusty. Today, stainless steel is favored because it is lightweight and remains lustrous without special care. Because water jars were heavy even when empty, a proverb described a person with bad fortunes by asking the question, “Would someone with good fortunes become the first daughter-in-law of a water jar seller?”

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  • Title: Earthenware Jar
  • Creator: unknown
  • Date Created: Republic of Korea/Since the Liberation of Korea
  • Location: 한국
  • Physical Dimensions: Height 22 Mouth diameter 35 Base diameter 24.3
  • Type: Industry/Livelihood/Agriculture/Sowing and Cultivating/Jar with a Spout
  • Medium: Earthenware