The Japanese technique of kintsugi, or “golden journey,” involves the application of lacquer mixed with gold dust to repair broken objects. Rather than conceal damage, kintsugi celebrates it and enhances the beauty of the object. This finely made stoneware bowl exemplifies the high quality of Korean celadon-glazed ceramics of the Goryeo Dynasty (AD 918–1392). Although the practice of kintsugi is more than 500 years old, we do not know when the repairs were made to this vessel. Colonel John R. Fox, who worked in the finance offices of the U.S. Government War Department during the Korean War, donated this bowl to the Museum. Fox acquired many vessels during his travels in Asia, and after his retirement, he donated his collection to eight different museums, where he felt they would have the greatest educational value.
In honor of the University of Michigan’s 2017 bicentennial, we are celebrating the remarkable archaeological and ethnographic collections and rich legacy of research and teaching at the Museum of Anthropological Archaeology by posting one entry a day for 200 days. The entries will highlight objects from the collections, museum personalities, and UMMAA expeditions. The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is also posting each day for 200 days on Twitter and Facebook (follow along at #KMA200). After the last post, an exhibition on two centuries of archaeology at U-M opens at the Kelsey. Visit the exhibit—a joint project of the UMMAA and the Kelsey—from October 18, 2017 to May 27, 2018.