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Kaya kingdom (42-562) Duck-shaped vessel 5th-6th century Place made: Korea
Creation Notes: Kaya kingdom (42-562)
Materials & Technique: sculptures, earthenware, earthenware; hand moulding, incising
Dimensions: side view 23.5 h x 31.4 w x 16.8 d cm
Acknowledgement: Gift of the family of H E Byong Hyon Kwon, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea 1995
Accession No: NGA 95.1006
  • The supplied chain of ownership for this object is being reviewed and further research is underway. The provenance information listed has been substantiated by documentation. Details may be refined and updated as research progresses. (added 2016)
  • with the family of H E Byong Hyon Kwon, Ambassador to Australia from the Republic of Korea, 1995
  • who gave it to the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, December 1995

Ducks are thought to have been worshipped in the small southern Korean kingdom of Kaya and were probably also an important food source around the Nakdong River region. Kaya is noted for its duck-shaped funerary vessels which symbolised a plentiful food supply for the deceased in the afterlife. Naturalistically rendered, especially in the expressive details of the head and beak, duck vessels were often mounted on pedestals. The simple raised bands around the body of this ceramic are characteristic of Kaya decoration.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label