We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of NSW stands.


Sake cup with gold lacquer mending

17th century


Shino ware


  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Cultural origin
    Mashizume kiln
    Edo (Tokugawa) period 1615 - 1868 → Japan
    17th century
    Media category
    Materials used
    stoneware, gold lacquer; 'maki-e'
    3.3 x 6.7 cm
    Gift of Miss Peta Phillips 2011
    South Building, lower level 1, Asian Lantern galleries
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    Shino ware

    Works in the collection


  • About

    Besides being a fine example of early Edo period ceramic drinking utensil produced in the Mino kilns (Gifu Prefecture), this Shino ware sake cup holds particular interest for its 'kintsugi' (lit. ‘to patch with gold’) , or repair with gold lacquer. The sake cup shows a stylised wave motif on the repaired area.

    Due to its outstanding adhesive quality lacquer has been used to mend ceramics in Japan for many centuries. Since the 16th century, however, this technique has been cultivated to a highly distinctive and fascinating Japanese art form, as craftsmen ennobled the mending by sprinkling the lacquer with gold or silver powder, bringing the broken object thus to new life and adding a whole new level of aesthetic complexity. The appeal of the delicate ‘golden veins’ zigzagging across a coarsely glazed surface of a tea bowl or tea caddy has captured the imagination of renowned tea masters such as Sen no Rikyu and Furuta Oribe, who saw in them the perfect embodiment of the 'wabi' and 'sabi' aesthetics, central to their style of 'chanoyu'. Moreover, Japanese collectors from the 16th centuries onwards were also attracted to the notion of ‘rebirth’ behind the costly restored ceramic pieces. Instead of being discarded when broken or damaged (sometimes due to mistakes that happen during the firing process), the object could gain a better, more unique appearance after being mended with gold or silver lacquer and consequently is more valuable than an intact piece.

    Asian Art Department, AGNSW, 2011.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 3 exhibitions

    • The art of the potter (1989), David Jones' Art Gallery, Sydney, Sydney, 14 Jul 1989–12 Aug 1989

    • Glorious, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 27 May 2017–06 Jan 2019

    • Elemental, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 Jul 2022–2024

  • Provenance

    Peta Phillips, 1989-Oct 2011, Bowral/New South Wales/Australia, purchased in 1989 from Morita Antiques. Donated to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Oct 2011.

    Morita Antiques, 1989, Tokyo/Japan

Other works by Shino ware