Oribe & Shino: Contemporary reimagining of Oribe & Shino

9 - 23 May 2019

Shino, Oribe, Kiseto, and Setoguro are distinctly Japanese ceramic traditions that peaked in the centrally-located Mino province during the Momoyama 桃山 Era (1573-1615). A significant moment in the history of Japanese ceramics, local potters departed from Korean and Chinese traditions to express what was unique to their land through Mino pottery.

Despite its importance to Japanese ceramic traditions, Mino declined rapidly in the seventeenth century. Seto dominated Japan's ceramic production so fully that Seto-mono 瀬戸物, which means "something from Seto," is still used to refer to pottery today. Ceramicists residing in Mino would refer to their ceramic works as Seto for branding purposes. This confusion continued until ARAKAWA Toyozo 荒川豊蔵 (1894-1985) proved that Mino ceramics were being celebrated but misidentified as Seto. In our current exhibition, Dai Ichi Arts presents contemporary artists working with Oribe and Shino traditions to unravel the complicated history of Mino.

Although Shino has many origin stories, the style is associated with the Incense Ceremony Master SHINO Soshin 志野宗信 (1442-1523). Shino was most popular in the Tensho 天正 Era (1573-1591). It is made of a special clay called "Mogusa," which is soft and rough. Applying feldspar glaze to Mogusa's textured surface forms the pinholes and cracks that give Shino its unique appearance. The occasional iron slip under the feldspar glaze is called "Nezumi Shino, (Nezumi means mice=gray) 鼠志野" and "Aka Shino 赤志野" is when the fire mark turns the surface red.

Oribe is said to originate from the general and tea master FURUTA Oribe 古田織部(1544-1615), but there is no proof of this tale. It is likely that Furuta's name has become associated with Oribe as a mark of respect. The first Oribe work was made in Keicho慶長 Era (1596-1615), and the style is identified by the deep green from high-fired copper instead of lead (To-San-Sai 唐三彩). The textures, colors, and forms of Oribe and Shino ware are fertile ground for today's ceramic artists. Please stay tuned as we explore how artists keep Mino's history of Oribe and Shino alive.