This stunning black (kuro-yaki) Matcha bowl is stylish yet restrained. Despite it dark and somewhat brooding demeanor, the weight of the clay is light and soft in the hand. The bowl is accentuated around the diameter with indentations that might be that of the potter pressing his thumb lightly into the clay. These slight but regularly placed marks work in harmony with the shiny glaze to create an impression of watery movement in the current of a slow moving stream.
Three patches of brown-gold color on the face of the teabowl peek out from the front of the bowl. The effect of this color is as if a curtain, momentarily lifted, has allowed us a glimpse of something far away and mysterious.
This tea bowl was made by Shoraku Sasaki III in the kiln bearing his family’s name in Kame-oka near the Yada shrine, Kyoto. His grandfather built a kiln in the vicinity of the Kiyomizu Temple in Eastern Kyoto. In 1945 the kiln was moved to the current site. Shoraku’s name was given to him by the head priest of the Yada shrine, and now his grandson – Shoraku Sakai III – has the title and continues the tradition of producing raku tea bowls. Shoraku Sakai’s signature seal rests prominently on the bottom of the bowl in the brownish-gold glaze.
Raku tea bowls are made by hand, without the use of a potter’s wheel. The potter works the clay with his hand raising the sides of the play while holding and coddling the shape of the clay with his hands.
Potters touch the tea bowls in the same manner that the users will hold them as they drink from them. Fingers and a small wooden spatula are the only tools used to shape the bowl and scrape away excess clay. In this manner, the connection made in the tea room between participants and the experience of drinking tea is continued in the connection between the potter and the participants.
Raku tea bowls can vary considerably in bowl size, footring design and width of the bowl, but the rim of the bowls are always be made with the tea drinkers ease of drinking in mind.
This is a handmade item – slight variations in the painting, colors, tooling, patterning and kiln effects of Chinese and Japanese teawares are to be expected. We have carefully photographed this item as best as possible – please be aware that different device screens can render colors and subtle tones slightly differently.