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40th Anniversary Summer Exhibition
What is Raku? Red, Black and Fire
Saturday 30 June – Sunday 26 August 2018

Midnight at the Raku family house.
Binchōtan charcoals start crackling. The air is gently being blown into the kiln with bellows. The moon is high up, while the kiln fire is on alert.
The tension starts being raised between the warm fire and the cool, limpid air of the night.
A tea bowl is still waiting. The kiln itself is accumulating its energy, as if it were concentrating on the goal to attain. Time passes slowly to wait for the moment.
When the moon is almost being replaced by the sun at dawn, when the kiln, now overwhelmed with flame, finally asks us ‘isn’t it about time? ‘, that is the moment the first bowl is being inserted into the saggar. The stronger, whippy air is now blown into the kiln, while charcoals glow incandescent wrapped up by crackling flames.
Fire is hard to be controlled by humans. Unless truly understanding its uninhibited nature, it becomes an uncontrollable hell fire.
The bowl is now glittering red enshrouded by fire, patiently waiting for its moment to utter the birth cry. Through the experience acquired over repetitive failure, we now know the right moment to pull off an incandescent bowl from the saggar with a quick maneuver of iron tongs. Immediately after, another bowl is placed inside the saggar without reducing the kiln temperature.
The people, charcoals, bellows, saggar, glowing flames: they are all synchronising the breathing to give birth to a bowl one by one, with utmost care and attention.
By the time the sun sets, the saggar, after suffering a continuous force of fire, finishes its mission.

About 450 years ago, Chōjirō, the founder of the Raku family, invented a unique firing method to make tea bowls that could embody, wabicha, tea aesthetics of wabi, established by Sen Rikyū. Subsequent generations have always respected Chōjirō’s intentions and have carefully protected the family kiln and its unique firing method, from which tea bowls continuously have come into life.

The exhibition features a black Raku tea bowl named Yorozuyo by Chōjirō, a red Raku tea bowl named Sōjō by Dōnyū III, a black Raku shallow tea bowl named Furuike by Sōnyū V, a
Yakinuki-type black Raku tea bowl named Rōkyō by Raku Kichizaemon XV, and others.
We hope that a variety of red and black tea bowls on display could speak themselves how fire is the important element for the individualistic form of expression.

Works on Display
Closed: Mondays (except National Holidays)
Admission: Adults ¥900
University Students ¥700
High School Students ¥400
Under Juniour High School free admission
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