Hinowan (Hino Lacquered Bowl) (日野椀)

Hinowan refers to lacquered bowls produced in and around Hino-cho, Gamo-gun, Shiga Prefecture.

History and Characteristics

There remains a historical record in which Hino region was called 'himono no sho' (a place of hinoki-cypress craftsmanship) in the Heian period. It seems therefore that hinoki-cypress crafts were already produced in this period.

In 1533 Sadahide GAMO, a feudal lord of the region, divided the Hino castle town and ordered 'kijishi' (wood masters) and 'nurishi' (lacquerers) to live in Kataji-machi (present Kinei-cho) and Nurishi-machi (present Oshari-cho), respectively.

In 1590 Ujisato GAMO who had shifted his territory to Ise Matsugashima moved to Aizu. He invited the lacquerers to Aizu, which resulted in the temporary decline of the lacquerware production in Hino. The introduction of the Hino lacquering technique helped develop Aizu lacquerware.

During the Genna era (1615 - 1623) Hino merchants vigorously promoted Hino lacquerware, which was thereby restored. In 'Kefukigusa' (a theoretical script on Haikai poems) published by Shigeyori MATSUE probably in 1645, 'Goki' (articles for the Buddhist altar) is mentioned as a specialty in Omi Hino. The production of Hinowan gradually declined partly because the merchants replaced their major merchandise with medicine, and partly because Hino was devastated in 1756 by a great fire (that reduced about 80% of the downtown to ruins). During the Tenpo era (1830 - 1843) it wa completely lost.

Most of the lacquerware which was produced in earlier times and which still remain includes ritual utensils characterized by their thickness and high bases.

According to a document SEN no Rikyu and others cherished Hino lacquerware in the Azuchi-Momoyama period.

In the Edo period the Hino merchants peddled hinowan which became widespread as daily lacquerware all over Japan.

Recent studies have shown that Hinowan was produced not just in Hino. The Hino merchants contracted out wood masters and lacquerers, whom they had provided technical instructions, to produce Hinowan in various places.
As has been pointed out, they might have circulated the lacquered bowls branded with 'Hinowan.'
(Yoshinobu MANDA, Director of the Museum of Omi Hino Merchants).

Place of Manufacture and Production

Hinowan whose production ceased a long time ago has been recently reproduced in Hino-cho by Koji KITAGAWA, a wood craft artist of 'The Association for the Restoration of Hinowan.'
He successfully produced lacquerware for daily use which does not contain synthetic petroleum material such as polyurethane, using specially refined natural lacquer called 'MR lacquer.'
One of this restored Hinowan's characteristics is that it can be used in automatic dishwashers/dryers.

[Original Japanese]