Arakawa Toyozo, the great Japanese potter who lived and worked in the Mino area of Japan near Nagoya, made an important discovery in 1930. While digging at a 16th century kiln site in the hills around the small village of Ogaya, he discovered a tiny shino shard with a bamboo-shoot decoration.
"As though in a dream," he later wrote, "I worked until dusk, completely engrossed in the excavation and collection of other reference material. From that day until now, no other teabowl shard with a bamboo-shoot design has come to light.... The realization that the superb Momoyama tea-ceremony ware, including shino, was fired in the mountains surrounding my birthplace, and the fact that I, myself, had discovered the remains of this kiln, made an incredibly deep impression on me. It was as though I had been struck by a thunderbolt.
"I resolved to devote my life to the challenge of making shino and, in the eighth year of the Showa era (1933), I built my kiln and started my workshop at the site of the ruins of the Mutabora kiln at Ogaya. Since then, thirty years have already sped by. Today, when I see the popularity and respect enjoyed by the new-style shino, my heart is filled with emotion." (more...)
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