Friday, September 16, 2011

Raku ware museum

The ancient tea master, Rikyu, designed utensils to achieve his ideal tea.  An example of this is the Ruku tea bowl.  Rikyu asked a craftsman, Chojiro to make his original bowl.  It is hand molded instead of using the turning wheel.   It is thick but feels lighter than it looks.  It is very earthy and I assume it goes really well with Rikyu-designed tea room that is simple and rustic.  Please imagine that you are in a dark tiny tatami room with clay walls.  The earthy bowl will be perfect in there.  A sophisticated white shiny porcelain bowl would look out of place.   When you hold the Ruku tea bowl, it fits in your hands naturally and you can comfortably feel the warmth of the tea through the thick soft clay.  Some people describe it as you almost feel like drinking tea from your own bare hands.

Konnichiwa, it’s Kohei (^^)ノ  I also visited the Raku ware museum on the Kyoto trip.  After Chojiro, The Raku family continued making Raku bowls.   Now 15th generation of Rakus is making them.  At the museum, I saw the successive potter’s pieces.  What I was most fascinated with was that I had an opportunity to hold the bowls.  I held them for viewing and not to drink tea from them.  We were lead to a tatami room.  As we view a tea bowl in a tea ceremony, we were able to appreciate three Ruku bowls.   Each piece is individually unique.  One has a rough and rustic texture.  Another one is glazed and smooth.  As I held the bowls, I tried to imagine how it’s like drinking tea out of them.  It was totally a different experience from just looking at the pieces in a case.  Jah!

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