Pottery craftsman Bae Yo-seop

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Pottery craftsman Bae Yo-seop
  • Classification : Intangible cultural heritage no. 30
  • Description : Pottery craftsman Bae Yo-seop
  • Designated in : September 2002
  • Location of the workshop : 32, 53-gil Bonghwasan-ro Jungrang-gu

Bae Yo-seop (Sinnae-dong, Jungrang-gu) was designated as Intangible Cultural Heritage No. 30 by Seoul City in September 2002. At present, he is making puretogi (bluish pottery made by heating in a kiln without glazing) at Bae’s Earthenware in Namyangju.

Bae Yo-seop (born in 1926) engages in the trade of pottery making just as his father, grandfather, and great grandfather did. Heungseon Daewongun, King Gojong’s father who acted as regent while the king was young, persecuted and killed Catholics. Thus, Catholics, including Bae’s great grandfather, hid in the mountains and started making pottery for a living.

As a pottery craftsman, Bae suffered many difficulties during the colonial period and later due to the emergence of more convenient and durable goods than pottery objects. Nonetheless, he has always thought that pottery making was his vocation. Since 1988, he has introduced traditional pottery of Korea at more than 50 universities and art centers and set up Korean-type pottery kilns in the United States. Americans have spoken highly of the usefulness of -- and the scientific mechanism contained in – the super-sized pottery objects made by Bae.

He, together with his second son Bae Yeon-sik (representative of Bae’s Earthenware), succeeded in the reproduction of puretogi, which had been discontinued.