Raku Road


Raku ware is a type of Japan­ese Pot­tery that is tra­di­tion­ally used in the Japan­ese Tea Cer­e­mony, most often in the form of tea bowls. It is tra­di­tion­ally char­ac­ter­ized by being fairly porous ves­sels, which result from low fir­ing tem­per­a­tures; lead glazes; and the removal of pieces from the kiln while still glow­ing hot. In the tra­di­tional Japan­ese process, the fired raku piece is removed from the hot kiln and is allowed to cool in the open air.


Raku means “enjoy­ment”, “com­fort” or “ease” and is derived from Juraku­dai, the name of a palace, in Kyoto, that was built by Toy­otomi Hideyoshi (1537–1598), who was the lead­ing war­rior states­man of the time.

In the 16th cen­tury, Sen Rikyū, the Japan­ese tea mas­ter, was involved with the con­struc­tion of the Juraku­dai and had a tile-maker, named Chōjirō, pro­duce hand-molded tea bowls for use in the wabi–styled tea cer­e­mony that was Rikyū’s ideal. The result­ing tea bowls made by Chōjirō were ini­tially referred to as “ima-yaki” (“con­tem­po­rary ware”) and were also dis­tin­guished as Juraku-yaki, from the red clay (Juraku) that they employed. Hideyoshi pre­sented Jokei, Chōjirō’s son, with a seal that bore the Chi­nese char­ac­ter for raku.[1] Raku then became the name of the fam­ily that pro­duced the wares. Both the name and the ceramic style have been passed down through the fam­ily (some­times by adop­tion) to the present 15th gen­er­a­tion (Kichiza­e­mon). The name and the style of ware has become influ­en­tial in both Japan­ese cul­ture and literature.

In Japan, there are “branch kilns” (wakigama), in the raku-ware tra­di­tion, that have been founded by Raku-family mem­bers or porters who appren­ticed at the head family’s stu­dio. One of the most well-known of these is Ōhi-yaki (Ōhi ware).

After the pub­li­ca­tion of a man­ual in the 18th cen­tury, raku ware was also made in numer­ous work­shops by ama­teur pot­ters and tea prac­ti­tion­ers in Kyoto, and by pro­fes­sional and ama­teur pot­ters around Japan.

Raku ware marked an impor­tant point in the his­tor­i­cal devel­op­ment of Japan­ese ceram­ics, as it was the first ware to use a seal mark and the first to focus on close col­lab­o­ra­tion between pot­ter and patron. Other famous Japan­ese clay artists of this period include Dōnyū (grand­son of Chōjirō, also known as Nonkō; 1574–1656), Hon’ami Kōetsu (1556–1637) and Ogata Ken­zan (1663–1743). Inter­net shows the orig­i­nal Raku fam­ily museum at http://www.raku-yaki.or.jp/e/. Here the com­plete lin­eage of the Raku fam­ily can be stud­ied as well as the Raku lit­er­a­ture writ­ten by the present Raku mas­ter, Raku Kichiza­e­mon XV.

Explore a Dif­fer­ent Street

Artists you’ll find on Raku Road: Group Booth,

75. Micheal Moul­let II
76.Nick Mola­tore
77. Glenn Bur­ris
78. Janet Buskirk
79. Jeanne Henry
80. Dave & Boni Deal
81. Michael Sim­mons
82. Cor­rine Veg­ter
83. Louie Gizyn
84. Sandy Segna
85. Ted Earnst
86. Bev­erly Cur­tis
106. Babette Har­vey
107. Stephanie Bur­ton
108. Jen­nifer Jasaitis
109. Sara Swink
110. Becky Clark
111. Sandy Visse
112. Rhoda Fleis­chman
113. Patrick Noe
114. D. Lindsoe-Johansen
121.Jamie Ander­son
122.Micheal Fromme
135. Gin­ger Steele
136. Charles Piatt
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