Wanted to post on this topic the first time it came up, but too busy with kids to get to much e-mail these days. Glad that it has surfaced again. I'm no expert on Shino wares, but had done some reading & looking a few years ago when our daughter was born and we named her "Shino." Wanted to have the info for when she grew up, but also to answer everyone's question "What does that mean?"
In fact, most Japanese people don't feel that their name has any literal meaning, but just explain the etymology of the Chinese characters used to write their name. In this case, we wanted her to know the pottery history as well.
In terms of being called a "white glaze," most historical sources start Shino wares with early 16th century "White Temmoku" items, possibly from nearby Ise. Early glazes were ash, and then replaced by feldspathic glazes. The local clay in the Tajimi and Toki areas was/is "mogusatsuchi." Other clays still in this area are "gotomaki" and "odo," but most like the tea wares that we see used in the historical Shino wares were comprised of the mogusa clay. The clay/glaze combination is what produces the small pin holes, "suana" (lit. "nest holes") that give he texture of "yuzu hada" (citron skin) that is a Shino characteristic.
Painting on "e-shino" (picture Shino) was done with brown iron-oxide.The actual use of the name "Shino" doesn't start till later in the 16th century. As Lee wrote, the name is usually associated the Tea & Incense Master, Shino Soushin, who died sometime around 1500 (there are different dates.) Because the name of the pottery doesn't jive with his dates, some see this as big hole in the story. But, think of all of the
things that are named for people after they die. Doesn't seem such a stretch for me. And, we do know that he was influential enough to have a "Koudou" (Way of Incense) School named after him.
Lee gave several given translations for "Shino." The first character is kokorozashi," and read as "Shi" in this case. A standard translation is "ambition." The character "no" as in "nohara", can mean field or plain. We tell people our daughter's name means "Boundless Ambition," but again names usually don't carry a literal meaning.
Lee also names the several types of Shino wares. To that list, I'll add other names that I've seen used: "Hai-Shino" (Ash Shino), "Beni-Shino" (Crimson Shino), and "Neriage-Shino" (Marbled Shino).
To this day, I don't know the difference between Beni-Shino & Aka (Red)-Shino, but have seen both names appear on the same list, so there must be a difference. If anyone knows, and has photos, please post.
What makes Shino unique is that the history of this Momoyama Period ware was unclear until re-discovered and revived by Arakawa Toyozo and others in the 20th century. This is probably why there is such confusion over what qualities constitute the designation "Shino."
This historical rhetoric might not mean much to most, but consider this in the arguments for and against calling something "Shino." It's been described, on this list & elsewhere; as a glaze, a firing technique, a color, etc. Bear in mind that historical Shino-yaki is a regional ware,
as it is a branch of Mino-yaki (which also includes Oribe, SetoGuro [Black Seto], and Ki-Seto [Yellow Seto].) As such, the clay body, glaze, firing technique, and decorating traditions all play a part in the definition of this ware.
In this day and age, availability of materials makes it possible to make wares outside of their region of origin. For example, I have no problems in calling something Mashiko-yaki that is produced outside of Mashiko with Mashiko materials & traditions. However, substituting materials,even when the pot is made in Mashiko, makes is what we call "Mashiko-fuu" ("fuu" being "like, apperance, style, type, etc.") and "Mashiko-rashii" (similar to Mashiko), or possibly not Mashiko-yaki at
all. I think the same should hold true of Shino-yaki. "Shino" has become a term widely used without regard to traditional pottery nomenclature in Japan, because it is somewhat of a mystery ware. But consider that no one calls something truly "Bizen," unless it is Bizen clay. All extant wares in Japan have gone through some sort of evolution (good and bad), so change is not an issue in nomenclature. But, some respect for tradition is important is name designation of wares.
I think that calling something American Shino or Quebec Shino is a good start in recognizing that not every Shino is the same as historical Japanese Shino. However, there should also be some standard, in terms of materials and methods, as to what comprises an American Shino. Has this happened yet?
In the meantime, shall we call it "Shino-fuu", Shino-type, ware?Another aside about Mino wares is that Shino and Oribe wares, highly influenced by not only the Tea Ceremony, but by individual Tea Masters and tastes (Shino Soushin & Furuta Oribe in these cases) might be considered as some of the first wares in Japan that are similar to whatto the artist-potter creates today. We often assume that late 19th & early 20th century potters, such as Tomimoto, Hamada, Rosanjin, & Kawai broke out of the mold of traditional potters to become the first studio or artist-potters, but I think that Shino & Furuta may have done something similar back in the Momyama Period, although they may have not been actual potters, but the designers of truly creative wares that speak to us differently (in an almost modern and fresh way) than almost
anything that preceded them in traditional Japanese pottery.
P.S. I hope that my daughter takes up pottery some day. Maybe she'll
I added in response to Tatsuo's post:
Thanks Tatsuo! I was hoping you'd have something to say about your daughter's name-sake. :-) I will put this on a shino photo weblog I just put up.
One thing I'd like to add, that along with calling American Shinos "American Shinos", the newly developed shinos here in Japan should be called something different, like maybe Shin-shinos "New Shino" because the tradition of shino here is not an unbroken tradition but one that was independently "recovered." Many of the shinos, like Osamu Suzuki's or Ken Matsuzaki or the Murasaki Shinos of Tomio Suzuki sometimes look less like the traditional shinos than do American shinos, that were based on the Freer analysis of mino samples.
I remember seeing Osamu Suzuki's humongous bright orange shino bowls at the opening show of National Living Treasures at the Ibaraki Ceramic museum. I wondered if he made them for Bozo the Clown. ;-)
Speaking of Matsuzaki, he did a workshop in Liverpool in May. You can read more here (see images of his work, essay and bio):
Svend Bayer is listed at this site too. I cannot think of two more different potters. I wish I could arrange to get Sven to come here and do a kiln building workshop.
in Mashiko, Japan http://mashiko.org
http://hankos.blogspot.com/ Visual Bookmarks
http://ikiru.blogspot.com/ Zen and Craft
About the best pots:
"They are not necessarily amenable to intellectual analysis, and, in fact, that analysis can destroy a person's real appreciation and understanding of a piece."
-- Warren MacKenzie