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Shino glaze (志野釉 Shino uwagusuri ) is a generic term for a family of pottery glazes. They tend to range in color from milky white to a light orange, sometimes with charcoal grey spotting, known as "carbon trap" which is the trapping of carbon in the glaze during the firing process. The term also refers to Japanese pottery made with the Shino glaze (see Shino-yaki).
The first Shino glaze was developed in Japan during the Momoyama period (1568-1600), in kilns in the Mino and Seto areas. The glaze, composed primarily of ground local feldspar and a small amount of local clay, produced a satiny white color. It was the first white glaze used in Japanese ceramics. Wares decorated with Shino were fired in the Ogama kilns used at that time. Ogama kilns were single-chambered kilns made from a trench in a hillside that was covered with an earthen roof. As the Ogama kilns were replaced by the multi-chambered Anagama kilns during the first decade of the 17th century, Shino was supplanted by the oribe glazes used in the newer kilns. Shino enjoyed a brief revival in the 19th century, but then faded into obscurity.
In the 1930s and 1940s, two Japanese potters, Toyozo Arakawa and Hajime Kato, developed the first modern Shino glaze by studying Monoyama Shino pots. Working independently, in 1974, Virginia Wirt, a student of Warren MacKenzie at the University of Minnesota, developed a glaze formula that also sought to imitate the historical exemplars. Her glaze, which added soda ash and spodumene to the base of feldspar and clays, was the first American Shino.
Shino has since become one of the more popular glazes in American pottery studios. Many variations have spawned from Wirt’s original formula. Although many different colorants and fluxes can be added, creating a wide range of effects, Shino glazes in America are all characterized by the use of soda ash and by a high ratio of alumina to silica. Under certain firing conditions, the soda ash causes carbon to be trapped in the glaze, creating the characteristic grey spots or patches on the glaze surface.
There is also a class of Shino glazes, called Crawling Shinos, which are intentionally formulated to exhibit a glaze defect know as crawling. These Shinos form small, regular spots of bare clay all over the surface of the pot, some going so far as to cause the glaze to bead up on the surface of the clay.
Due to Shino glazes low fluxing temperatures, they should be applied before any other glazes. If Shinos are applied on top of most glazes, the off-gassing from the underglaze will bubble through the Shino, resulting in undesiralble pitting and glaze defects.
The origin of the term Shino is uncertain. It may be derived from “shiro”, the Japanese word for “white”. Or it may refer to the tea master Shino Soshin (1444-1523). Kuroda and Murayama refer to a text by Kanamori Tokusiu (1857) which states;
"Shino Soshin had a favorite white-glazed, 'shoe-shaped' bowl, imported from South Asia, which he used as a teabowl."
- Richer, Lester (ed.). ‘’American Shino: The Glaze of a Thousand Faces’’, Babcock Galleries, 2001. ISBN 0-915829-71-1.
- Jacobson, Mel. "Black Shino", Ceramics Monthly, December 2000. Available on-line at Ceramics Monthly .
Master's Thesis: Shino Glazes, Heidy Herschbach, University of Puget Sound 1973
- Kuroda, Ryoji. Murayama, Takeshi. ‘’Classic Stoneware of Japan: Shino and Oribe’’, Kodansha International, 2002. ISBN 4-7700-2897-0.
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