Shoraku Sasaki III Set Aka & Kuro-Raku Chawan

Potter: Sasaki Shoraku, 3rd Generation

Approximate size (Kuro): W4.9″ by H3.1″ or 12.5 by 8.0cm

Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto

Available now is a rare high class set of Raku consisting of a black (kuro), and red (aka), tea bowls by one of if not thé best known Raku yaki potter in Kyoto, the third generation potter Sasaki Shoraku (1944-).

The Shoraku kiln has been producing Raku wares for three generations and its bowls are widely used by practitioners of the tea ceremony across Japan. The founder of the Shoraku lineage established a kiln near the famous Kiyomizu temple in Eastern Kyoto. The kiln was moved to Kame-oka, near the Yada shrine in Kyoto, in 1945, as it is common to seek the patronage of a religious place in the Raku tradition. It is then that the head priest of the Yada shrine gave Shoraku his name. The current Shoraku inherited that name from his father in 1962.

The Shoraku kiln was founded in 1905, by a nishiki-e (a type of woodblock print), painter from Kyoto named Kichinosuke Sasaki. The Kiyomizu Temple is part of the Daitokuji Temple group and played an important part in the success of this kiln. This was largely due to the support and guidance of Gotō Zuigan, who was a Buddhist monk and Rinzai Zen Master and the chief abbot of the temple group (Myōshin-ji and the Daitoku-ji temples), at this point in time. The monk who he succeeded was former head master Oda Sesshou and together they helped Kichinosuke Sasaki. The kiln became the new official kiln of the temple complex and worked to revive the former pottery that was made on temple grounds years earlier, which was called Murasakino yaki. Work was discontinued and seized activity completely in 1818. The pottery was named after the Murasakino Temple that originally housed the kiln. Later Kichinosuke Sasaki was bestowed the title of ‘Narumo-ken’ for the part he and the kiln played to the restoration of the temple group and revival of their lost pottery.

A tradition dating from the mid-16th century, Raku tea bowls are made by hand, without the use of a potter’s wheel; giving them a distinctly human feel. In the process of shaping the bowls, potters handle the tea bowls in much the same manner that users will hold them as they drink from them. In this way, we can imagine a connection is formed between the creator of the tea bowl and the participants in the tea ceremony. For this and other reasons stemming from historical circumstances, Raku bowls are considered a favorite of tea practitioners across Japan.

Raku tea bowls are made by a special hand-building technique known as ‘tezukune‘, a method of slab forming (distinct from coiling or pinching). In the tezukune technique, the potter presses a ball of clay into a thick disc and then raises the edges bit by bit to shape a bowl that fits comfortably into one’s cupped hands.

Written appraisal by former Head Priest Korin Ohashi of the Korin-in Temple Rinzai sect

松楽造 Shōraku zō
黒楽茶碗 Kuro Raku chawan
赤楽茶碗 Aka Raku chawan
一対 Ittsui
前大徳香林 Zendai toku Kōrin

A pair of black and red tea bowls

Both chawan are in mint condition. They come packed in their own high quality silk shifuku or cloth pouches, tomonuno (tea-cloths), for both and high quality shiho-san tomobako. Both boxes fit perfectly in a larger, high quality tomobako which is signed and appraised by Korin Ohashi. For your consideration, a dignified set of red and black Raku tea bowls, complete with the highest quality accessories and appraisal.


Thank you very much!