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Hee-Kyoung Spiritas Cho, Spiritas Cho is Professor at Hongik University College of Law in Korea, where she teaches intellectual property law, competition law, and arts and law, and where she helped to establish a Masters of IP program in the graduate school. Spiritas obtained a degree in international relations from Cambridge University, and she is admitted as an attorney in Australia, England, and New York.
THE KOREAN POET ParkJong Hwarhapsodized over the beauty of Goryeo celadon like many before him over the centuries. But behind the elusive jade hue of Goryeo celadon lies a remarkable tale of a protean system of intellectual property and technology transfer practiced almost a millennium ago; a system thatpowered an entire industry and developed cutting-edge technology. The history of Goryeo celadon illuminates both the nature and the process of innovation long before the development of formal intellectual property rights for individuals, as well as the role of the state in the construction of these systems of innovation. It is not only a tale of intellectual property, politics, and fashion, but also an illustration of how cultural artifacts are used to enhance national prestige and to build national pride.
Although Goryeo celadon is now valued as national treasure in Korea, it had been forgotten for many centuries after the Kingdom of Goryeo fell in the late 14th century and celadon gave way to a new fashion for white porcelain of the Chosun dynasty. It was not until the beginning of the 20th century that Goryeo celadon was rediscovered by the Japanese colonialists who avidly collected them; even robbing graves to do so. The original celadon manufacturing know-how was long lost to history, and modern attempts to reproduce the subtle green hue never fully succeeded—spawning myths that there was some arcane trade secret in its manufacturing process and glazing technique, a technique that was supposed to have been closely guarded and passed among only a handful of masters. In this way, celadon became a source of national pride, symbolizing Korea's long history that harked back to a time when its scientific and cultural development was far superior to any of its neighbors.
The term “celadon” denotes both the jade green glaze used on ceramic ware and any porcelain made with such glaze.
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