This stunning set is comprised of 7-Raku-yaki tea bowls that are replicas of the original tea bowls commissioned by Rikyu, Japan’s most influential 16thC Tea Master for his use and that of his illustrious noble and wealthy students. Four of the bowls are Aka-yaki (red) raku; and three are Kuro-yaki (black) raku.
According to the history of tea development in Japan, Raku tea bowls were the collaboration between Tea Master Sen Rikyu (1522-1591) and the Korean potter Chojiro (1516-1592) who was working in Japan Chōjirō produced bowls for Chanoyu, the Japanese tea ceremony at Sen Rikyu’s request. These tea bowls were made of soft pottery and featured un-embellished, black or dark red /black glazes. For his contributions, Chôjirô was given the family name Raku.
Chôjirô’s offspring continued the Raku family lineage, each becoming influential potters contributing to the stylistic development of tea bowls. Very few of these early tea bowls still exist, but some that do can be seen in museums in Japan, Europe and the USA. All Raku family tea bowls are named and have traceable histories. These tea bowls are priceless, and are considered Cultural Assets or National Treasures in Japan.
The Raku Museum in Kyoto, Japan, privately owned by the Raku family, treats visitors to a stunning display of historic tea bowls made by successive members of the Raku family, beginning with the first Raku, Chôjirô.
This collection of Raku tea bowls are generous in size and have the warm, soft feel that is unique to Raku ware. Subtle undulations in the surface of the tea bowl provides some texture for the fingers to discover and appreciate. But overall, the surface of the tea bowl is smooth and confident and the aesthetic is spare of distracting decoration.
Each of these tea bowls is named and can be identified in this photograph:
Tea bowl on the top row, left position = Hayafune
Tea bowl on the top row, right position = Rinzai
Tea bowl in the middle row, left position = Toyobo
Tea bowl in the middle row, middle position = Ohguro
Tea bowl in the middle row, right position = Hachibiraki
Tea bowl on the bottom row, left position = Kinori
Tea bowl on the bottom row, right position = Kenko
Each tea bowl has it’s proper compartment in the wooden box, and each compartment is stamped with the name of the tea bowl (in Japanese). A little white slip of paper with the same Japanese name is included with each bowl. This photograph of the bowls in their box shows the placement for each bowl:
Mr. Shoraku Sasaki 3rd is a famous Raku-yaki potter who lives in Kyoto, Japan. His seal is impressed in the underside of each tea bowl.
Note: Hayafune tea bowl has a tiny chip in the glaze on the rim in the spot where the right thumb rests when holding the tea bowl. This spot has been stabilized so no further damage will come of it, especially in this out-of-the-way-place on the rim.
This is a handmade item – slight variations in the painting, colors, tooling, patterning and kiln effects of Chinese and Japanese tea wares 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.