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In line with decisions made by the National Cabinet as communicated by the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, the Art Gallery of New South Wales is currently closed but will reopen to the public on 1 June. The Gallery will be observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of all visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in the State. More information




Asian art

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Sake cup with gold lacquer mending

17th century


Shino ware



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.


Place where the work was made


Cultural origin

Mashizume kiln


17th century

Media category


Materials used

stoneware, gold lacquer; 'maki-e'


3.3 x 6.7 cm


Gift of Miss Peta Phillips 2011


Not on display

Accession number


Artist information

Shino ware

Works in the collection



Where the work was made

Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history

  • 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