According to the history of tea development in Japan, Raku pottery was the collaboration between the Japanese Tea Master Sen Rikyu (1522-1591) and the Korean potter Chojiro (1516-1592). 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, rustic black or dark red /black glazes. For his contributions, Chôjirô was given the family name Raku.
His offspring continued the Raku family lineage, each of them becoming influential potters who contributed heavily to the stylistic development of tea bowls. Some of those early tea bowls can be seen in museums in Japan, Europe and the USA. All Raku family tea bowls are named, very famous and priceless, and are considered Cultural Assets or National Treasures in Japan.
The Raku Museum in Kyoto, 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.
Some of the bowls made by Chôjirô were commissioned by the famous Tea Master Rikyu for his use and that of his illustrious noble and wealthy students.
This raku tea bowl is a replica (utsushi) of one of Rikyu’s tea bowls that he named ‘Araiso’ or Craggy Coast. The original tea bowl was made by Donyu (1599-1656), the 4th Raku, It is generous in size and has the warm, soft feel and thick, shiny glaze unique to Raku ware. Gently, subtle undulations in the surface of the tea bowl provides some texture for the fingers to discover and appreciate. An expressive spray of whitish-grey glaze populates the lower half of the teabowl, perhaps suggesting sea spray on a blustery day. Otherwise, the overall feeling of the tea bowl is smooth and confident and spare of excessive decoration.
The foot-ring elevates the bowl so that one may appreciate the dappled glaze work at the bottom of the tea bowl. The rim of the bowl curves inward ever so slightly.
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.