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Painted pieces derived from Chinese painted pottery were found in northern Korea, while wares devoid of surface decoration were used in other areas of the peninsula.
Clay, bone, or stone figurines of seated or standing shamanistic deities were produced at such northeastern sites as Musan and Kulp’o-ri, as were small clay pigs used as charms to ensure fertility and fortune.
Potters, therefore, were able to work unselfconsciously and naturally, producing wares of engaging simplicity and artistic distinctiveness.
Simplicity was applied not only to economy of shape but also to the use of decorative motifs and devices.
The intervention of the human hand is restricted to a minimum in Korean art.
A single stem of a flower, for instance, may be drawn in a subtle shade of blue on the side of a white porcelain vase or bottle, but never merely from a desire to fill an empty space.
The mirrors were also of a non-Chinese type, with twin knobs placed a little off centre against a tightly composed, geometric design made up of finely hatched triangles.
The hatched-triangle motif was widely diffused over the vast Eurasian continent all the way from Hallstatt in Austria to Minusinsk in the upper Yenisey River valley of Siberia.
The original territory of the Silla kingdom, the modern Kyŏngsang-puk province, is a mountain-secluded triangle, a geographic factor that is sometimes offered as an explanation for the distinctiveness and conservatism of its art.) brought a sudden efflorescence of the arts.
Prehistoric sites dating from the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods are found throughout the peninsula.