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Raku History

The firing technique of "Raku" ware was first developed by Chojiro, founder of the first generation of the Raku dynasty, in the 16th century. Chojiro produced tea bowls for the tea ceremony using the "Raku" firing technique.

Chojiro's tea bowls were brought to the attention of the Emperor Hideyoshi. Emperor Hideyoshi was very impressed with the unpretentious and aesthetically pleasing tea bowls. As a result, the Emperor bestowed, in memory of Chojiro, a gold seal that bore the emblem symbolizing �Raku� on Chojiro's son Jokei.

The word "Raku" comes from the ideograph engraved on that gold seal. "Raku" when freely and loosely translated can mean joy, enjoyment, pleasure, comfort, happiness, or contentment. The word "Raku" thereby became Chojiro's family name/title.

The Raku firing technique utilizes a rapid rise in temperature in a fuel fired kiln. The Raku items are taken out of the kiln at glaze maturity, the Raku items, are then, placed in an air-tight container containing shredded newspaper and sawdust, and a short time later the Raku items are taken out of the air tight container and either air cooled or sprayed or dipped in water. The Raku firing technique and the reduction cause the items to develop vivid colors and copper sheen. Fire and smoke create matte black surfaces in unglazed areas. Oxygen deprivation, the fire, and temperature changes cause the glazes to fully or partially reduce and cause the interesting colors or patterns of color or areas of bronze, copper, or silver to develop. As a result, the items have wonderful vivid colors and sheen. Fire and smoke create the matte black surface areas. Slight variations in glaze thickness cause the glaze to react and change color. Oxygen deprivation (reduction) and temperature changes are what determine the shades of the colors that develop. As a result, no two items are exactly alike.
NOTE: Items fired in the Raku manner are quite porous and can only be used for decorative purposes and are not for food or drink.

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