October Auctions in Korea: 18th-Century Moon Jar Could Sell for $2.58M
An 18th-century moon jar, a style that currently boasts high popularity and prices in the global auction market, will be offered by Seoul Auction in October. The jar has a starting price of USD 2.58 million. Recent auctions have fetched even higher prices for Korean moon jars. At Christie’s New York in March and Sotheby’s New York in September, smaller moon jars were sold for $4.56 million and $3.57 million, respectively.
K Auction and Seoul Auction, major Korean art auction companies, recently announced their sale plans for October. Seoul Auction will offer a 47.5cm-high 18th-century moon jar with a starting price of $2.58 million during an auction held at Gangnam Center on October 24, 2023. This moon jar is believed to have been made in the first half of the 18th century, and even with its large size, it has a proper proportion and a light milky color, according to Seoul Auction. Among the moon jars of the Joseon Dynasty, a height of more than 40cm was mainly used for royal events. There are only about 20 known pieces of this large size left in existence, including national treasures.
Seoul Auction said, “Among the moon jars traded in domestic auctions so far, attention is being paid to whether it will be able to establish a new record following a moon jar that sold for about $2.29 million at Seoul Auction in June 2019.”
The original name of the moon jar is Baekja Daeho, which describes the moon jar’s size. These jars were made at a manufacturing site in Gwangju, Gyeonggi-do, in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Standing at over 40cm tall, these moon jars were considered highly unusual at the time.
Artist Kim Whan-ki renamed the Baekja Daeho “moon jar,” since the pure white background and round shape resembled a full moon. Kim, a moon jar enthusiast and collector, said, “It radiates such a complex, subtle, and mysterious beauty despite being a simple circle and simple pure white.” He added, “It’s made of cold porcelain, but there’s a warm temperature on the skin.” It was in the 2000s that these moon jars first attracted attention in the global art market, and in 2000, the British Museum in London labeled one “moon jar” when it opened its Korean room. Moon jars are now one of the most desirable items of Korean art.Seoul Auction will host Hong-jun Yoo, a chair professor at Myongji University, at the Gangnam Center on October 21 to hold a special lecture under the theme of “The Moon Jar, the Flower of Chosun Ceramics.” In addition, Seoul Auction will showcase a total of 98 works in the upcoming auction. They are together worth about $6.79 million, including items from Ufan Lee, Bae Lee, Yayoi Kusama, and Mayuka Yamamoto. Also available is Ecriture. no.171020 by Seo-bo Park, a master of monochromatic painting who passed away on October 14, 2023.
Meanwhile, K Auction will present a total of 93 items worth about $4.8 million at its headquarters in Gangnam-gu on October 25, 2023. Kim Whan-ki’s New York period work 15-VII-69 #88 (estimate: $320,000 – $443,000), Ufan Lee’s masterpiece Correspondence (estimate: $480,000 – $665,000), Soo-keun Park’s Family (estimate: $370,000 – $591,000), and Jung-seob Lee’s River of No Return (estimate: $111,000 – $300,000) are looking for new owners. Works by representative Korean experimental artists such as Kun-yong Lee, Kang-so Lee and others, who have recently exhibited in New York, will also be auctioned.
In the overseas art category, K Auction will feature Takashi Murakami‘s A Home to Mangold (estimate: $407,000 – $518,000), Sarah Morris’ Japanese Bend [Knots] (estimate: $60,000 – $222,000), and Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photography work titled Temple of Dendera (estimate: $60,000 – $133,000). The K Auction preview will be held until the day of the auction and can be viewed for free.