Japanese Antiques by Ichiban Oriental and Asian Art
A Small Raku Cup - Japanese? Studio?

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Directory: Vintage Arts: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Pre 1980: item # 1156302

Please refer to our stock # 39 when inquiring.

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Ichiban Japanese & Oriental Antiques
Post Office Box 395
Marion, CT 06444-0395

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A Small Raku Cup - Japanese? Studio?
This is a lovely small raku cup clearly made by hand and hand fired. The cup measures 2 high by 2 diameter at the top and 1 1/8 diameter at the base. The base is somewhat rounded, but the cup still stands erect. We are at a loss in determining the origin of this cup. It could certainly be Japanese yet it would clearly not have been made for a yunomi sake cup as the top edges are too ragged purposely to be able to drink from it. At the same time it could easily be a modern studio ceramic piece made by either Japanese or a Western potter. Either way, we found the cup to be so beautiful that we could not resist purchasing it.

Raku ware (raku-yaki?) is a type of Japanese pottery that is traditionally used in the Japanese tea ceremony, most often in the form of tea bowls. It is traditionally characterized by being hand shaped rather than thrown; fairly porous vessels, which result from low firing temperatures; lead glazes; and the removal of pieces from the kiln while still glowing hot. In the traditional Japanese process, the fired raku piece is removed from the hot kiln and is allowed to cool in the open air or in a container filled with combustible material.

Unlike traditional Japanese raku, which is mainly hand built bowls of modest design, western raku tends to be vibrant in color, and comes in many shapes and sizes. Western raku can be anything from an elegant vase, to an eccentric abstract sculpture. This is one reason that we lean to the idea that this cup is a modern studio piece.

The colors on the cup remind you of the shimmering colors on a spot if oil or a cup of coffee. The various chemicals in the clay are brought out in the kiln and we see an extraordinary variety of colors from black - to brown - to red - pink - yellow - tan - all mixed together to provide this aesthetically striking piece. To be conservative, we will simple state that it is a wonderful example of raku pottery made somewhere sometime by somebody who had great artistic sensibilities.

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