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Item SH025


Kuro Raku-yaki
Tea Ceremony Bowl


(1pc. & signed box)




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Sawada Hiroyuki



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Raku (raku-yaki) is a low-fired ceramic ware first produced by Sasaki Chojirō (d. 1592) in the 16th century in Kyoto. Under the encouragement and patronage of his close friend, tea master Sen no Rikyū, he crafted a style of bowl which was devoid of any decoration or sense of movement.  They were made to embody Rikyū's wabi-cha philosophy - that is, tea ceremony in which great emphasis is placed on simplicity, austerity and quiet appreciation.

Although the appellation "Raku" is reserved for those works made by Chojirō and his successors, the term is used by a number of contemporary Japanese potters who adhere to the same forming, glazing and firing techniques.  Sawada Hiroyuki is one who stands out among them.  An artist with over 35 years of experience crafting ceramic wares for tea ceremony, Mr. Sawada specializes in raku-yaki and strives to create bowls with the same sense of presence as those made by the early Raku masters.  And in this piece, we see the influence of Ichinyu IV (1640 -1696), who was the first to blend copper reds (shugusuri) with black.

This kuro (black) raku bowl is formed entirely by hand, without the aid of a potter's wheel, in a meticulous process which negates any sense of mechanical precision.  In the absence of decorative elements, it communicates with the viewer on a more abstract and subconscious level.  A sense of monolithic strength is immediately perceptible in its half-cylindrical body, yet restrained by the soft curvature of the rim.  Grace and balance are conveyed at the base where the weight of the bowl comes to rest squarely upon the footring.  Ichinyu's contribution from the past adds a sense of heated energy to half of the bowl.

Raku bowls present tea like no other vessel.  When filled with the verdant color of whipped matcha, the contrasting colors strike a harmonious balance, transforming the bowl into a contemplative piece reminiscent of a quiet Zen garden.

See Sawada Hiroyuki's Hankyu exhibition for more works from his recent collection.

A wooden presentation box will be custom made to order and signed by the artist.  Delivery time for this item is 2 weeks.

Raku bowls are intended solely for the preparation of matcha green tea.  See raku glazing safety for more information.

A display cloth (fukusa) is included.

special raku care instructions




  in. cm lbs. g
diameter 4.9 " 12.5    
height 2.8 " 7.1    
weight     1.10 500


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