Diameter: 11.600 cm (across mouth)
Bequeathed by Oscar Raphael
Asia JA 1945.10-17.490
ōhi ware teabowl
Possibly from Kaga Province,
Edo period, probably 18th century AD
Glazed in Raku-style shades of brown and yellow
Raku wares were first made in Kyoto during the Momoyama period (1568-1600) by a tilemaker called Chōjirō, the son of a Korean immigrant. His tiles caught the eye of the renowned Teamaster, Sen no Rikyū who some time between 1577 and 1580 asked him to make teabowls and other utensils for his use. Sen's patron, the military leader, Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536/7-98) also appreciated Chōjirō's work and gave him the name Raku, meaning 'pleasure'. The Raku line of potters has continued to the present day.
Raku pots are hand-made from strong iron-bearing clay, thick-walled and light-bodied. they are then low-fired at 800-1000°C in single-chamber kilns. A lead glaze is used and the resulting colours are normally red, black or white. Raku teabowls are prized by Teamasters for their sturdiness and individuality.
This teabowl was made in a Raku tradition which developed at ōhi, some distance from Kyoto. ōhi ware was discovered by the Kyoto Teamaster, Sensō in the mid-seventeenth century.
The colour and shape of this teabowl make it a pleasure to the eye and to the touch, and a perfect foil to the pale green foam of the whisked tea.
L. Smith, V. Harris and T. Clark, Japanese art: masterpieces in (London, The British Museum Press, 1990)