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Thick feldspar glaze highlighted by reddish ore seeping from the iron-rich clay, this is a very attractive Shino vessel that may have originally been a yunomi but was later fitted with a silver globe and repurposed as an incense burner (koro). In Japan extending the useful life of a piece—by converting it to another use or perhaps by mending broken pieces (kintsugi)—is a common practice which demonstrates a deep consideration and respect for ceramic works of art. Such alterations are generally seen as adding character and value to a piece.
Shino-ware dates to the Momoyama period when potters were attempting to recreate white porcelain-wares that were being imported from China at the time. Originally they were made in a single-chamber anagama style kilns set into the hillsides. Later, with the advent of large-batch noborigama, shino production fell out of fashion and was replaced largely by Oribe. It was not until the early-20th century that Arakawa Toyozo brought Shino back from the brink with his research into Momoyama period kilns. One potter in particular who was influenced by Arakawa, Tsukigata Nahiko, experimented with the small-batch anagrama kilns using intense firing methods to come up with a style of pottery known as “Oni Shino.”
The box that houses this piece describes it as “Oni Shino” from Momoyama. Therefore, we can assume that the piece was produced several hundred years before, and was then discovered and re-boxed sometime in the 1950’s or possibly 60’s using the term which Tsukigata had popularized at the time.
This piece is 3.5 inches in diameter (9 cm) and stands 2.8 inches tall (7 cm). It comes with a box which looks to date from the 1950’s—around the time the term Oni Shino first came into wide use—although the piece itself is much older. Originally it may have served as a yunomi but, judging from the age of the silver globe on top, sometime during mid-to-late Edo it was repurposed as an incense burner (Koro). Overall it is in fine condition apart from one piece of glaze near the base which seems to have broken off but is not easily noticeable.