Black Raku Teabowl, by Chōjirō

  • Kyoto
  • Momoyama period
  • 16c
  • Black Raku ware, black glaze
  • H-8.5 D-11 W-5
    Ex-owned by Fukuhara Oki no kami
Catalogue Entry

by Chojiro
Momoyama period, 16th century
Black Raku ware, black glaze
Height, 8.5cm; mouth diameter, 10.8cm;
foot diameter, 5.0cm

It is a well-known fact that Chojiro invented the Raku tea bowl based on Sen-no-Rikyu's original concepts. A surprisingly large number of Chojiro's tea bowls have come down through the generations, and as they display a diverse array of form and style, they have been divided into types on the basis of their shape and particular qualities. A variety of theories exist about these formal differences, and scholars hold divergent opinions on the dating of these works. There is even the theory that Chojiro wares were created by a number of people.

This black tea bowl has a regular, half-cylinder shape, and an accompanying letter states that it has the same measurements as the bowl known as Oguro (Important Cultural Property) formerly in the collection of the Konoike family. Indeed, this bowl shares the unwarped, upright shape of Oguro. However, here the strongly restricted hip, the traces of carving around the foot, and the slightly broad foot base all differ to some degree from the works of Chojiro's earliest period. In other words, this bowl can probably be dated somewhere between the bowls known as Oguro and Shunkan (Important Cultural Property, Mitsui Bunko). Needless to say, this bowl was hand-formed, and the area around the foot was carved in such a manner that there was almost no warping. The interior of the bowl has a tea puddling reserve, the foot is a regular circle, and a tokin point has been carved on the interior of the foot. The glaze on the interior of the bowl is quite dried out, while the exterior shows a considerable luster. A bit of the foot shows the red base clay. While no particular name has been given to this bowl, the exterior of the lid of the old box states, "Fukuhara oki sama goyo rakuyaki ochawan Matsuzakaya Michitaka--Hisaemon--," indicating that the bowl was once owned by Fukuhara Okinokami. TA