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The History

The technique is originally a Chinese and Korean firing technique. The pots where usually cheap and simple, mostly tea-bowls.

In the beginning of the 16-century, Chojiro, son of a Korean brick moulder, is said to be the first to use this way of firing in Japan. He made simple and very beautiful tea-bowls. The masters of the tea- ceremony started to use them in their ceremonies, which is the essence of Japanese philosophy and aesthetics. They sought for harmony and simplicity, and to unite the simple with the beautiful.

The word RAKU stems from the Chinese ideogram that cover feelings like balance, lightness, pleasure, calmness and happiness.

According to legend, the son of Chojiro, received a golden seal with the RAKU sign, and was also granted the title of RAKU.

The 16. RAKU, Kichizaemon lives and works today in Kyoto, and is a descendant of the first RAKU.

Other potters have also worked with the technique. Honami Koetsu (1558-1637) has made a tea-bowl named Fuji-san, Honourable Mount Fuji. It has been registered as a national treasure.

In Japan there was no reduction (see Technique of RAKU). But when it was brought to U.S.A. after 2nd W.W., it was here discovered that you could produce very strong metallic colours if the pots were reduced in straw, after certain metal oxides where applied. This gives the pots a colourful and flamboyant expression, which is very American, but in contradiction to the meaning of the word RAKU.