Charles Lang Freer believed his collection should be used for study and research as well as contemplation and aesthetic enjoyment. Beginning in the 1930s, the Freer Gallery of Art began to build what eventually became known as the Study Collection. It was based primarily on small collections of ceramic sherds picked up from kiln sites, assembled for study and technical analysis by the museum’s conservators and scientists and other scholars.
There are 246 Korea-related items in the Freer Study Collection. Most are sherds, and they include materials from the Three Kingdoms, Goryeo, and Joseon periods. Several modern ceramics represent efforts by contemporary Korean potters to recreate the skills embodied in Goryeo and Joseon wares.