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The Momoyama period is considered to be the most prosperous period in Japanese history when many social changes took place. Among them was what can be called the Revolution of Vessels. It marked the birth of modern tableware, an evolution that saw the replacement of wooden and lacquered medieval vessels with fine ceramics. The ceramics that symbolized the shift were the Shino and Oribe wares produced in the kilns of Mino, Gifu prefecture.
Shino and Oribe wares were the first Japanese ceramics to have expanded into the market of high quality utensils which until then had been monopolized by foreign products of Chinese and Korean origin. The form, color, design and texture of Japanese ceramics differed in every respect with the foreign items, producing a very attractive “Japanese” quality – and this is the reason for these wares to be called the treasures of Momoyama ceramics.
Among them were Shino tea ceremony utensils such as tea bowls and mizusashi (water jars), and Oribe serving dishes (mukāzuke food cups and bowls). They left an influence so farreaching on later generations that it drastically changed the nature of Japanese vessels. Since their first appearance their placid form and refined design continue to fascinate contemporary people even after four hundred years.
This exhibition will showcase Shino and Oribe wares from the Museum collection as well as masterpieces from other collections including one National Treasure and three Important Cultural Properties. The dynamics of the form of Shino and Oribe wares will be traced, especially in regard to their world of pattern and design. We hope that you will enjoy the beauty of Shino and Oribe wares through this exhibition.
Lastly, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to all those who cooperated with us in loaning their valuable collections