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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Japanese
Creator Name-CRT: Japanese
Title: Square Serving Dish
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1567
Creation End Date: 1599
Creation Date: Momoyama period, late 16th century
Creation Place: Japan, Gifu Prefecture
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Ceramics
Materials and Techniques: Stoneware painted with underglaze iron brown (Mino ware, Shino type)
Dimensions: 3 x 8 3/4 x 8 1/2 in. (7.6 x 22.2 x 21.6 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.225
Credit Line: Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Context: The development of certain types of Japanese ceramics, such as Iga and Mino wares, and the use of ceramics for serving food and eating are linked to the evolution of the tea ceremony (chanoyu) in Japan. The drinking of powdered green tea (matcha) whipped with boiling water came from China to Japan at the end of the 12th century together with the Zen sect of Buddhism and a certain complex of cultural practices, philosophical pursuits, and artistic styles. This tea was first used in Zen monasteries as an aid to meditation and as a part of formal gatherings. The drinking of this type of tea spread from Zen circles to the Japanese aristocracy, who organized formal tea ceremonies. The tea ceremonies also served as a means of displaying the host's treasures, which at first were primarily Chinese in origin and included refined ceramics as well as paintings, lacquers, and other objects. Over time, as the tea ceremony was redefined under the guidance of various tea masters, new tastes emerged, andeveryday Korean ceramics as well as stonewares produced in Japanese kilns began to be appreciated for their unpolished charms and used in the tea ceremony.
By the 16th century, Japanese ceramics were in great demand for use in both the tea ceremony andthe kaiseki meal served before the more formal type of tea ceremonies. In Japan, wood and lacquer had traditionally been used for dining, and the use of ceramics for the kaiseki meal and tea ceremony helped to spur their use in homes. Equally important was the introduction in the late 15th century, probably from Korea, of a new and larger type of kiln that facilitated the manufacture of the high-fired, glazed stonewares characteristic of Japanese 16th- and 17th-century ceramics.
One of only two complexes that produced glazed ceramics prior to the 16th century, the Mino kilns were located around the modern cities of Tajimi, Toki, and Mizunami (excavations have uncovered over seventy kilns), and are noted for the development of new glazes, forms, and types of wares, particularly in the last quarter of the 16th century. The combination of underglaze painting and a thick, milky-white glaze used in the manufacture of this square dish is typical of the Shino wares produced at the Mino kilns. This dish, which may have been used to serve food during a kaiseki meal, has a rough stoneware body and thick, pitted white glaze. The color of this glaze is derived from feldspar, while its opacity is the result of deliberate underfiring. This glaze was perfected around 1585--the height of the production of Shino wares--and the finest examples of this type of ceramic date from between 1570 and 1600. Sketchy paintings of half wheels, bamboo and grasses, and flowing lines have been painted under the glaze of this dish with an iron-brown pigment. Shino wares with this type of decoration are often classified as Decorated or Painted Shino (e-shino). The rounded, scalloped corners of this dish are also typical of Shino ware.
The center for the production of Shino wares was Toki. The use of the term Shino to describe these wares is said to derive from their purported association with Shino Soshin (1440-1552), the founder of the Shino school of incense connoisseurship who was active in court society during the rule of the Ashikaga shogun Yoshimasa (1436-1490). Although this term is commonly used today, it is not found in Japanese writings on either ceramics or the tea ceremony until about 1700, and study of the early history of the Mino kilns continues to address the confusing terminology used for some of the earliest products of these kilns.
Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, , p. 100.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.225
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright, Asia Society
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