I specialized in Japanese fine china.



Since the Meiji period, Mino-yaki has been the customary term for stoneware and porcelain produced in a large area around the cities of Tajimi and Toki, in the southeast of Gifu Prefecture. As in neighboring Seto(Aichi Prefecture), ahi-glazed stoneware in Sanada style, known as Shirashi, was produced from the 11th century on, followed by unglazed Yamachawan, which was made in huge quantities. More than 500 kiln sites are documented from this period. In the subsequent Kamakura period, ceramics production declined sharply in the Mino region, in contrast to the Seto kilns, which flourished. It was not until the Muromachi period that kilns were built again, initially around Toki, then around Tajimi. In these kilns, ceramics were surfaced with Tenmoku or early Kiseto glazes. The ware strongly resembled Seto ware, but as archaelogical findings pove, it was produced in quantity even before the influx of Seto potters fleeing from the Onin Civil War. Starting in the 15th century, through connections between the local ruling class and Kyoto, the center of the tea ceremony, tea ceramics began to flourish in the Mino region. Kiseto glazes, followed by Setoguro, Shino, and Oribe glazes?regarded as the first independently developed glazes in the history of Japanese ceramics-were used.
The early Kiseto glazes(yellow Seto) from the Muromachi period are considered to be attempts to reprode Chinese celadons from the Song dynasty. The composition of the wood ash feldspar glazes largely resembled that of the celadons; however, in oxidation instead of the reduction necessary for celadons, a dull yellow-green was formed. Beginning in the 15th century, this yellow was consciously developed further, probably to reproduce the then highly esteemed Chine Ming wares. In the Momoyama period, two types of Kiseto had emerged. One was Ayame-de Kiseto in a clear yellow, named after the incised iris design, over which were typical of the period. Simple representations of plum blossoms, chrysanthemums, and radished were poplar patterns on thin-walled tea bowls, plates, and bowls. The second type of Kiseto, Aburage-hada, with its golden brown, matte, slightly grainy surface,owes its name to its resemblance to baked tofu. Information about its production is no longer available.
Setoguro(black Seto) was the first black glaze in the history of Japanese ceramics. An excavated Setoguro bowl has been dated from between 1532 and 1555, and thus is older than the first black raku tea bowl from Kyoto, dated 1582. the glaze is made from ash and Oni-ita, an iron ore mined near Mino. During firing, the vessel is removed glowing hot from the kiln after the glaze has matured, at temperatures above 2192F(1200), and is immediately cooled. This type of glaze is therefore also known as HIkidashi-guro(withdrawn black). Only tea bowls were fired using this technique. In addition, their characteristic cylindrical forms were an annovation: previously, Tenmoku tea bowls with small feet and fired walls were customary.
Shino, as ash glaze with a high proportion of feldspar?the first high-fired white glaze in Japan?is said to have developed from an opaque white ash glaze used on Tenmoku tea bowls to replicate porcelain surfaces. The origin of the name and the date of origin are subject to controversy, although the early Azuchi-Momoyama period seems likely. Plates and small side dishes(muko-zen) for the Kaiseki meal during the tea ceremony were also made. In contrast to pots made in large numbers, from which the tea master randomly selected a well-executed vessels, careful production of individual pieces became the norm. Vessels were wheel thrown and often refinished by hand, or they were press molded. The deformations that are still typical of Japanese ceramics date back to Shino wares. The surface of the thickly applied, milky Shino glaze is reffered to as YUzuhada(lemon peel) because of its appearance. A special clay(moxa clay, Moguza, from Gairome type) and the damp, ineffiaient Anagama were prerequisites for Shino wares, with their long firings to relatively low temperatures of 2192F(1200).

The best-known types of Shino glaze are:

Muji(no Shiro) Shino: an undercorated white shino covering the entire vessel in a thick coating of glaze.
E-Shino: gpicture Shinoh, in which simple patterns were applied to te pot in Oni-ita and covered with Shino glaze. With E-Shino, underglaze painting was employed for the first time in Japan.
Nezumi-Shino and Aka-Shino: gray Shino and red Shino; these depend on firing conditions. The vessel is covered with a layer of Oni-ita slip, then Shino glaze is applied. In a neutral atmosphere in the Anagama, the slip fires gray; in oxidation, the slip-coated body snowy white glaze in red-dish to red gscorchh markes in areas where the glaze was applied more thinly(hi-iro).

Orice ware has its origins in tea ceramics, which were made until 1624 in the style of the tea master Furuta Oribe. Technically, Oribe-yaki required the Noborigama, which was introduced to Mino in 1597. the first kiln of this type?the Motoyashiki-gama, with 14 chambers and approximately 78 feet(24m) in length?the ruins of which may still be seen today, was built by Kato Kagenobu to resemble the Kishidake kilns of Karatsu. Shiro glaze fired in Noborigama produced a smooth, white, transparent glaze(Sino-Oribe) that is considered to have been a prototype for the production of Oribe wares. Thereafter, green copper glaze on the unusual vessel forms, with their asymmentrical designs, was typical of Oribe. The expressive Oribe style was in total contrast to the Wabi aesthetic practiced by the tea masters up to this time. The bowls and side dishes(mukozen), with their wide range of forms, are best known.

The main types of oribe are:

Ao-Oribe: green Oribe, with areas of green glaze and Oni-ita underglaze painting in the areas free of copper glaze.
Narumi-Oribe or Aka-Oribe: composed of white and red clay; the white clay is covered with green copper glaze, whereas the red clay body is layered with a white slip design. So-Oribe: a uniformly green-glazed type of ware.
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About me

Kanetsugu Ishizawa

I introduce you to what a wonderful pottery and porcelain world.