This splendid mizusashi (fresh water jar) is a great example of the high level of craftsmanship of one of Kyoto’s best known raku-yaki potters, Sasaki Shoraku III, born in 1944. Mizusahi are used during the Japanese tea ceremony as jars from which fresh water is taken to put into the kama (kettle) or to rinse the chawan (tea bowl). Like chawan and other potteries used during that ceremony, they contribute a particular tone to the harmony of all the objects of the room. In the case of this mizusashi, the misty red tinted with subdued black seem to mirror a fire wood in winter; still a warming sight.
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 mizusashi is signed, in perfect condition, except for a few minute marks of wear, not uncommon on very fragile raku potteries, around the mouth (see picture 8). It comes in a signed box. Dimensions: 16.5 x 23.5 cm (6.6 x 9.4 in), Weight: 2kg (4.4 lbs)
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