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This chawan was fired in the kilns of one of Kyoto’s best known raku-yaki potters, Sasaki Shoraku III (1944-). The Shoraku line began when the grandfather of the current potter 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 today.
Raku teabowls are made by hand, without the use of a potter's wheel. 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 manner, a connection is formed between the creator of the tea bowl and the participants in the tea ceremony. For this and other reasons, Raku bowls (and especially those made by the Shoraku line of potters) are a favorite of tea practitioners across Japan.
The bowl featured here appears to be a tribute piece dedicated to the memory of legendary 16th and 17th century potter and founder of the Rinpa school of painting, Honami Koetsu (1558-1637). Koetsu made a fine bowl he named “Kamiya,” which displayed the reddish purple mottling and dynamic swirls of color seen in this black Raku bowl by Shoraku.
The piece is 5.5 inches in diameter (14cm) and stands 3.1 inches tall (8cm). It bears the artists seal in the center of the pedestal ring and comes with a signed tomobako and yellow cloth. The bowl is in excellent condition and has a noticeable “hasami-no-ato,” or mark from the tongs that removed it from the kiln. This is desirable as it adds a certain unique flair to the piece.