Waraku Kawasaki Aka-Raku Guinomi

Potter: Waraku Kawasaki, 7th generation

Approximate size (Large): W2.1″ by H2.0″ or 5.3 by 5.2cm

Here’s something that is relatively rare, an aka Raku guinomi or saké cup by the famous Raku potter from Kyoto, Waraku Kawasaki (1936-). He is the seventh and current headmaster in this particular lineage of Raku potters. Usually Raku ware focuses on the production of tea ware for the ceremony such as chawan or ceremonial tea bowls and therefore guinomi are seldom seen.

The Kawasaki lineage began during the Bunsei era (1818 to 1830), when the founder Shichizaemon, who operated a tea house called “Tanzaku Sakura“ in front of Yasaka Shrine began making unglazed pottery in addition to running his tea house.

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.

The lineage switched from making unglazed wares to Raku type pottery starting with the second generation and has continued making tea bowls in Raku style ever since. Waraku received his artist name from Togo Hei hachiro when he visited the temple grounds in 1918. Since then, the name “Waraku” has been used as the kiln name. This line of potters has also been given the honor of presenting work to the imperial household. It has been one of the biggest names in modern day Raku ware.

The areas of smoky black, which are hidden by the coating of white glaze, are known as ‘fu’, and are seen on traditional aka-Raku. Fu is a color change which occurs when fired surrounded by binchotan charcoal produced from Japanese Ubame oak. In other words, it is the burn mark created by binchotan. The surface of aka-Raku is like canvas fabric and the unique black designs of binchotan appear during firing in the kiln. Superb fu depends on the quality of binchotan charcoal and the skill of the craftsman to control the kiln’s fire.

This guinomi has light signs of use but remains in excellent condition. Comes with the original tomobako or storage box of which the lid bears calligraphy by Waraku Kawasaki and his stamp of authenticity.

€160 + shipping cost