Raku yaki -the embodiment of the tea ceremony spirit.
The names of Chojiro, the founder of Raku ware and the great tea master Sen no Rikyu are almost always mentioned together
when talking about classic tea ceremony ware. We can only guess at the
details of their relationship, although we can see through Chojiro's work
that he was interpreting Rikyu's philosophies and giving them a tangible
form. Chojiro's work embodies the ideals of simplicity and humility, the
very principles which Rikyu himself was promoting.
Chojiro believed in keeping ornament to a minimum, and staying true to
the basic roots of pottery production. This is perhaps why he steadfastly adhered to his principle of creating tea ware by hand in an
age where many potters were adopting the potter's wheel to meet the ever
increasing demand for ceramics.To this day, all Raku ware is made by a
process known as "Tezukune" or "Tebineri" (roughly
translated as moulding by hand).
The clay is first pressed by hand into a flat disc. The sides are then
slowly coaxed upwards into a bowl shape. During this process the potter's
hands are cupped around the bowl in much the same position as they would
be for drinking tea. Thus from its very creation, the bowl seems to be
nurtured for a certain purpose. The bowl is left to dry for a few days
and then finished off by sculpting with small tools known as "hera".
Raku tea bowls are a direct contrast to pots turned out quickly on the
potter's wheel.They come into being through the combination of the simplest
of techniques and the investment of large amounts of time and care.The
impression left by the potter's hands conveys a sense of warmth and softness
and the underlying philosophy of humility and spirituality results in quiet
pieces brimming with a subdued intensity.