Kasé Raku Tea Ceremony Bowl by Sawada Hiroyuki
Raku (raku-yaki) is a low-fired ceramic ware first produced by Sasaki Chōjirō (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 Chōjirō 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, Sawada specializes in raku-yaki and strives to create bowls with the same sense of presence as those made by the early Raku masters.
In this piece, we see the influence of Sonyū V (1664 -1716). During his time, a highly decorative style of painting and ceramics, called the Rinpa school, was growing in influence in Kyoto. While many distinguished artists subscribed to the expressive new style, Sonyū continued to pursue more non-decorative bowls, and the body of his work is most defined by a dry, matte glaze called kasé.
Kasé is an exceedingly difficult technique to master, forming at point where temperature, air pressure and a multitude of chemical reactions must all be in perfect harmony. Bowls which are taken out of the kiln at this uncharted intersection possess a surface texture likened to a garden stone beautifully weathered by time.
The 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 color or decorative elements, it communicates with the viewer on a more abstract and subconscious level. A sense of monolithic strength is immediately perceptible in its squared, cylindrical body, yet restrained by the soft curvature of the rim. Grace and balance are conveyed at the base where the weight of the piece comes to rest squarely upon the footring. 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 Zen garden.
Raku bowls are intended solely for the preparation of matcha green tea. See our using raku safely page for more information.
A wooden presentation box will be custom made to order and signed by the artist. Delivery time for this item is 2 weeks.
A fukusa display cloth is included.
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