RAKU The cosmos in a teabowl

29.03.2015 - 07.06.2015/General
RAKU The cosmos in a teabowl
Image: Chōjirō (Raku I), Tea Bowl named 'Tarobo', 16th century, Red Raku ware; glazed ceramic, Urasenke Foundation. Photo: Masayuki Miyahara.
Raku tea bowls have been revered since their first appearance in 16th-century Japanese tea ceremonies. In the West, the term raku refers to a quick, low-fire technique for making ceramics. Few know that this method traces its history back to a Japanese family of potters or, more specifically, to the originator of the technique, Raku I (Chōjirō), who lived in the 1500s. Since then, a single person named Raku has represented each of the 15 generations, and Raku masters have produced vessels for each generation of Tea Ceremony teachers and their followers.

This exhibition comprises nearly 100 Raku masterpieces with examples from each Raku Master. Over half of the ceramic objects in the exhibition are tea bowls; there are two Registered Important Cultural Properties and one Registered Important Art Object. Other works include incense containers and burners, food utensils, water jars, and other objects used in the Japanese Tea Ceremony.

This exhibition will be the first of its kind ever held in the United States, and LACMA is its only U.S. venue. It was co-organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Raku Museum and the Japan Foundation. Air transportation was provided by Japan Airlines.

Tea ceremony
The Japanese tea ceremony, a 400-year-old tradition, celebrates the simple act of preparing and receiving a bowl of special tea-ceremony tea. A series of tea ceremony demonstrations will be held March 29 through June 7 in conjunction with the exhibition Raku: The Cosmos in a Tea Bowl, which features tea bowls by the Raku family of potters. Each tea ceremony demonstration is followed by a tasting of the tea and sweets used in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony.

More info on the website of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.