Carved Raku Chawan With Sign of Raku

Carved chawan with sign of Raku (tomobako available)

Approximate size: W4.1″ by H3.0″ or 12.2 by 10.5 by 7.7cm

This splendid chawan is made in the Raku tradition which was born in the 16th century, in Kyoto, and linked to the great and perhaps most famous individual related to Chanoyu in the west; Sen no Rikyū (千利休 1522 – 1591). Raku wares are intimate with the world of the very contemplative tea ceremony in which the drinking experience becomes a transcending one. Many Raku chawan are either red or black, but there are many variations. Depending on the firing length, temperature reached in the kiln and other variables the glaze turns out black, red, pink or as shown here a variable mix of colours.

Although the name of the craftsman who made the bowl is not known, it is a demanding and lovely work that deserves to be preserved for posterity. Formed by hand and then boldly carved to the potters vision. This is a unique and quite colourful Raku chawan that retains a pleasant presence when displayed.  

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 favourite of tea practitioners across Japan.

The chawan has no chips or cracks and is in excellent condition. Near the koudai, foot of the bowl it has been stamped “Raku”. This tea bowl does not come with a box. If interested, for a small fee I can supply a unsigned lacquered tomobako (the box is not pristine but will do fine as a storage box).


Thank you very much!

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.