Signed Kasé Raku Chawan

Potter: Signed, unknown, pending further research

Approximate size: W4.8″ by H3.1″ or 12.2 by 12.3 by 8.0cm

This chawan, tea bowl is made in the Raku tradition which was born in the 16th century, in Kyoto, Japan. Formed by hand with a half cylinder shape which slopes inward ever so gently up towards the rim. With a large koudai and typical swirl on the inside of the foot ring seen exclusively in Raku ware. Finished with a dark brown glaze.

Raku is a firing technique for pottery whose origins are linked to the ancient Japanese art of tea ceremony. This technique is deeply rooted in the Zen philosophy and related to the influence that Buddhism had in the Japanese culture, whose Raku ceramics production can be traced back to the 16th century.

When the potter finished the modeling phase the underside was boldly carved with the potters signature. This is a steadfast Kasé Raku chawan with a quiet, understated haki or presence. Unlike typical Raku bowls which are light to the touch this chawan carries some weight and although the name of the craftsman who made it remains a mystery for now, I think this piece emits a calming atmosphere and its qualities deserve to be appreciated in use.

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 wares are intimate with the world of 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 and factors in the glaze among innumerable variables turns out black, red, pink or as shown here deep matte brown which is known as kasé Raku.

The chawan has no chips or cracks and is in excellent condition. Near the koudai its signed by hand. Comes with the original paulownia tomobako or storage box with calligraphy and kiln-stamp.

€185+ shipping cost

In the creation of the first Raku bowls Chojiro used the same materials and technique that were used for roof tile production, sandy clay – and removing the pottery from the kiln as soon as the glaze had reached the red-heat stage. The thermal shock provoked by the cooling process gave the pottery an aged look. Arguably the most critical moment when making Raku pottery is the moment of removal of work from the kiln which also leaves a tong mark.