Shoraku Sasaki III Aka-Raku Tsutsu Chawan

Potter: Sasaki Shoraku, 3rd Generation

Approximate size: W3.6″ by H3.9″ or 9.2 by 9.3 by 10.0 cm

This exemplary aka or red Raku chawan was fired in the kilns of one of Kyoto’s best known Raku potters, the third generation Sasaki Shoraku (1944-). A light red – hues of pink Raku glaze covers this chawan and additionally it has what I interpret to be snowflakes, drizzling down the exterior. A charming piece that is in mint condition for someone to bond with. This family lineage began with the great-grandfather of the current successor who established a kiln near the famous Kiyomizu temple nestled at the foot of the eastern mountains in Kyoto. In 1945 the kiln was moved to Kameoka near the Yada shrine where it remains until today.

This form is called tsutsu chawan and is typically dedicated for use during winter. This type keeps the contents warmer for a longer amount of time than for instance a summer bowl which is shaped wider giving the tea inside a larger surface area to cool.

Tsutsu chawan (筒茶碗), are characterized by a tall, cylindrical shape. It contains the warmth of tea during cold days for longer, as well as allowing us to warm our hands. Handmade and unique, they are not only pleasing to the eye, but also capable of enhancing the arrangement of any tea-gathering.

Kiyomizu temple, Kyoto, Japan

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.

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.

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.

This chawan has no chips or cracks and is unused. Condition is mint. Comes with the original high quality paulownia tomobako and a pamphlet about the potter. The chawan is stamped with Shoraku’s seal.

275 235 + shipping cost