Wednesday August 08, 2018, 09:24 PM
Ulsan Onggi Museum Onggi Academy About Onggi Village Onggi Producers Photo Gallery Tourism Attractions
  • Ulju-gun
  • Ulsan Metropolitan City
  • Road Name Address
  • Yeongnam Alps

Breathing Container, Onggi

Home > Onggi Academy > Breathing Container, Onggi

What is onggi?

Onggi is a container at least based on earth, water, fire, and wind from nature and a generic term of earthenware and crocks featuring natural simplicity.
Traditionally, Koreans have used onggi as a storage container for condiments, staple and side dishes, a tool for alcohol fermentation, and a container to store beverages.
Onggi originating from the Three Kingdoms of Korea is the uniquely Korean food storage container in the world.

  • Earthenware

    Earthenware is a biscuit-fired container made only out of clay. Because its high capacity for air permeability keeps out bugs, it has been developed as a storage container for crops.
  • Crock

    Crocks are glaze-fired, glossy and hard containers. Due to their fire-resistance and low absorption, they have been used for cooking, transport, and storage.
Onggi, Photo

Onggi Characteristics

  • Porosity (Breathing container)

    From ancient times, onggi has been recognized as a breathing container because clay used for body contains lots of granules of sand which make fine air holes on the wall. These air holes enable the passage of air inside and outside onggi, which makes it possible to ferment food in onggi well and store it for a long time. Therefore, onggi is used as a container to store fermented food such as soybean paste and sauce, Kimchi, jeotgal (salted seafood), and more.
  • Preservation (rot-proof)

    Rice, barley or seeds stored in onggi remain fresh next year, and do not rot. This is because of the soot generated by burned wood when onggi is fired in a kiln and thereby coats the inside and outside surfaces. Also, ash used as a glaze has a preservation effect that prevents food from going bad.
  • A Variety of Usage

    Unlike celadon and white porcelain, onggi has been variously used everywhere in the houses of ordinary people without any trouble. For instance, its uses range from household items used in jangdokdae (jar stand), kitchens, storerooms, etc. to items for religion and medicine, musical instruments, and more.
  • Return to Nature (Come Back to Earth)

    Among containers in use, onggi is the one closest to nature. This is because it is made out of clay from a hill and coated before it is fired with a glaze made of a mixture of clay with lead mold and ash, resulting in no harm to our body. Moreover, it is very hard so can be used for over a century with careful use. If a container cracks or is broken, it can easily return to nature because its composition comes from nature.

Onggi Characteristics, Photo