Shino (glaze)
is a generic term for a family of pottery glazes
Ceramic glaze
Glaze is a layer or coating of a vitreous substance which has been fired to fuse to a ceramic object to color, decorate, strengthen or waterproof it.-Use:...

. 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
Japanese pottery
Japanese pottery and porcelain , one of the country's oldest art forms, dates back to the Neolithic period...

 made with the Shino glaze (see Shino-yaki
' is a type of Japanese pottery most identifiable for thick white glazes, red scorch marks, and texture of small holes.It is one of the Mino styles from the late 16th century. Like other Mino wares, the Shino style is based on older Seto with changes to shape, decoration, and finish.Forms are...


The first Shino glaze was developed in Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 during the Momoyama period (1568–1600), in kilns in the Mino
Mino Province
, one of the old provinces of Japan, encompassed part of modern-day Gifu Prefecture. It was sometimes called . Mino Province bordered Echizen, Hida, Ise, Mikawa, Ōmi, Owari, and Shinano Provinces....

 and Seto
Seto, Aichi
is a city located in Aichi, Japan. It is located about 35 minutes from Nagoya by way of the Meitetsu Seto Line.As of April 1, 2011, the city has an estimated population of 133,121, with a household number of 53,253, and the density of 1,192.63 persons per km². The total area is 111.62 km².-...

 areas. The glaze, composed primarily of ground local feldspar
Feldspars are a group of rock-forming tectosilicate minerals which make up as much as 60% of the Earth's crust....

 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
Toyozo Arakawa
was a well known Japanese ceramic potter.He lived and worked in Mino, near Nagoya. He was given the title "Living National Treasure" in 1955. In 1930 he discovered shards at the site of the ruins of an ogama style kiln at Mutabora proving that that Shino and Oribe glazed work of the Momoyama and...

 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
Warren MacKenzie
Warren MacKenzie is a North American craft potter. He grew up in Evanston, Illinois the second oldest of five children including his brothers, Fred and Gordon and sisters, Marge and Marilyn. His high school days were spent at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois.MacKenzie studied with...

 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
Spodumene is a pyroxene mineral consisting of lithium aluminium inosilicate, LiAl2, and is a source of lithium. It occurs as colorless to yellowish, purplish, or lilac kunzite , yellowish-green or emerald-green hiddenite, prismatic crystals, often of great size...

 to the base of feldspar
Feldspars are a group of rock-forming tectosilicate minerals which make up as much as 60% of the Earth's crust....

 and clay
Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.- Formation :Clay minerals...

s, 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
Glaze Defects
Glaze defects are any flaws in the surface quality of a ceramic glaze, its physical structure or its interaction with the body.-Body/glaze interaction problems:...

known 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 undesirable pitting and other 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."


  • Britt, John. "The Complete Guide to High Fire Glazes", Lark Books 2004/2007. ISBN 978-1600592164.
  • 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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