ISSN : 1229-0076
Goryeo Dynasty was the only dynasty in the world that used celadon roof tiles to adorn pavilions in the gardens of royal palaces in the mid-twelfth century. Celadon roof tiles were installed in Taepyeongjeong, Yangijeong, and Seoru Pavilions. Based on the Yingzao fashi manual published in 1103 during the Northern Song Dynasty, the titles of the designs on celadon roof tiles have been identified as haishiliuhua (exotic camellia) and longyahuicao (elixir or dragon-fang-shaped fairy orchid). The origins of both designs can be traced to China. Camellia design, symbolizing the concept of rebirth by transformation in pure land or rebirth in paradise, had been applied mainly to grotto murals, stone coffins inside imperial mausoleums and tombs of the nobles, and temple buildings from the Tang period. Moreover, haishiliuhua was the term referring to exotic camellia imported from Korea and Japan to China. Elixir or dragon-fang-shaped fairy orchid appears to have symbolized the cure for diseases, good health, and longevity. Owing to their religious connotations, exotic camellia and elixir or dragon-fang-shaped fairy orchid began to be used as official design on a wide variety of artworks in the Tang period and in the Song period, respectively. In particular, exotic camellia pattern which was flamboyant and rhythmical during the Tang period became simplified and schematized in the Song period. In Goryeo, the use of both designs can also be observed in Buddhist artworks. They began to be utilized in steles for Buddhist monks in the late eleventh century. Moreover, sliver-inlaid incense burners, transcribed Buddhist sutras, and Buddhist paintings, including Water-Moon Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, were ornamented with these designs throughout the early Joseon period. Celadon roof tiles of the mid-twelfth century marked the appearance of these designs in Goryeo celadons. The exotic camellia pattern used in Goryeo displays originality. In line with the Buddhist concept of rebirth in paradise, each phase in camellia’s material and physical transformation from flower through fruit into seed is portrayed in detail as a pouch-shaped ovary of which seeds are pouring out like a cluster of grapes or a series of beads. Such depiction of seeds could not be found in China or Japan, but continued to be used in Korea until the early Joseon period. Both exotic camellia and elixir or dragon-fang-shaped fairy orchid designs on celadon roof tiles appear to have been influenced by the designs on silver-inlaid bronze incense burners of the time. Therefore, celadon roof tiles installed in Goryeo royal buildings in the mid-twelfth century were produced embodying wishes for the king’s good health, longevity, and rebirth in paradise.