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Aka Raku Chawan by greatest 9th generation Raku Kichizaemon Ryonyu


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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Japanese: Tea Articles: Pre 1900: Item # 1457581

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Pure Aka-Raku Chawan by the 9th generation Raku Ryonyu (Raku Kichizaemon IX) 楽了入 (9代 楽吉左衛門) enclosed in its originally signed and sealed wooden box and made around the beginning of 19th century about 200 years ago during the Edo era.

This Raku chawan is particularly endowed with a structural power deriving from simple composition of features of a bowl - another reminiscence of the earlier generations of this unique family of artists.

Ryonyu was the second son of Chonyu, the seventh generation head. Because his elder brother, Tokunyu the eighth generation, was in poor health, Ryonyu inherited the head of the household at age 15. From that point on he led a long life crafting ceramics, until his passing at the age of 79. He lost his father at age 15, his elder brother at 19, and when he was 33, all of the family’s works since the time of Chojiro were lost in the Great Tenmei Fire (also known as ‘Donguri Yake’ the Acorn Blaze) that burned most of Kyoto and Kamigyo to the ground. The following year he also lost his wife, and at age 49 he lost his eldest son, who was 18 at the time. Ryonyu did not succumb to the many misfortunes he encountered however, as he completed the series of 200 tea bowls the year after his brother’s death, and in the year following the great fire, he produced 200 tea bowls to commemorate the bicentennial anniversary of the passing of Chojiro.

He received major assistance from the Senke school, in particular Sotsutakusai, the eighth generation head of the Omotesenke. Ryonyu laid a firm foundation for the Raku household, and would eventually earn praise from the people for restoring the family to its former glory. In addition to his ceramics, he exhibited talent in many other fields, studying poem, calligraphy art, divination, Shinto, and other subjects. In his later years, he built a house to retire at in Ishiyama, Omi (present day Shiga Prefecture), where he enjoyed fishing and other hobbies while continuing to produce works. His works at Ishiyama included many engraved verses. Ryonyu’s style underwent significant changes throughout his life, and because he changed his seal, it is possible to estimate the dates of his works. The seal he used from the time he inherited the family name until it was lost in the great fire that occurred in the eighth year of the Tenmei period (ages 15-33) is known as ‘Hizen-in (the Pre-Fire Seal)’. The Middle Seal was what he then used until his retirement (ages 34-56), upon which he used ‘Inkyo-in (the Retirement Seal)’ until passing away (ages 57-79). While glimpses of his unique style can already be seen in his Pre-Fire chawan bowls, the Middle Seal period is when Ryonyu truly comes into his own. While honoring the 200 years of Raku chawan tradition that began with Chojiro, Ryonyu changed the course of its style to a new ornamental form that can be described as innovative. Ryonyu focused on spatula scraping, one of the unique characteristics found in hand molded bowls and sought a shape that the spatula could create. The name 'Gandoken' was awarded to Ryonyu and the Raku Tea House by Ryoryosai, the 9th generation head of Omotesenke, and later in life Ryonyu would adopt the alias of Ryojorojin (the aged traveler).

No chips, cracks, repairs.

Size: 7,5 cm height x 10,9 cm in diameter.

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