audio
Bowl with Wagtail Design (Mino ware, Nezumi Shino type)
The Magic of Japanese Masterpieces
14m 00s

Broadcast on October 20, 2016
Available until March 31, 2029

A shallow, distorted, rounded bowl… Most of the surface is grey but, in white, we see a wagtail perched on a rock in a flowing stream. The normal technique was to apply the pigment first and then scrape off parts of it to produce the design. In this case, however, by chance, an area of clay was neglected when applying the pigment. The shape happened to look like a rock and thus gave rise to this improvised design. The late 16th and early 17th centuries in Japan were a time of extreme social flux due to wars and vibrant economic activity, and this all gave rise to a new aesthetic. The free and approximate Shino style which we see in this bowl was a representative expression of that new aesthetic awareness in the world of ceramics. Eventually, however, tastes changed again and people even forgot where these works were made. The rediscovery of the Mino kilns where the Shino works were born began in the 20th century and today we know what a huge role they played in the ceramics of those times.

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