This Japanese antique Raku-yaki midori colored dish dates to the early 1900's, possibly older to the 19th century. Raku-yaki has a long history in Japan dating back to the 18th century. This wonderful plate of Raku is not a Raku design or style we often see, in a beautiful midori or green color. Raku is a general term used in Japan for hand-molded pottery. It is handmade and molded into a lotus leaf. The leaf's stem is realistically made on the center back. On the unusual green color is hand painted overglaze maple leaves and flowers on stylized rolling hills. The plate is completely covered in 'faux' crazing with real deep ruts of a darker color presenting a natural crazing look, the crazing is normal part in the making. It has piano leg style kodai or feet. It is in good condition for its age, it does have some dark age marks along the edges and bottom and scrapes around the rim, with one small chip, but no cracks. It is not signed. A perfect wabi-sabi example of Raku.
SIZE: Width 6.9" or 17.52 cm, Length 5.7" or 14.47 cs, Height 1.8" or 4.57 cm
Raku ware (or 'Raku-yaki'楽焼, as it's called in Japanese) has a long history in Japan dating back to the 18th century. Raku pottery is one of Japan's cornerstone arts and one that has exploded in popularity all around the world since it was introduced to the West by Paul Soldner in the late 1950s and, to a good degree, by the late British potter Bernard Leach in the 1920s. Raku pottery serves both practical and aesthetic purposes in Japan, and has been manufactured by not only Japanese artisans but also by the same family that created the Raku technique in the 1700s.
Raku is a type of Japanese pottery that is made using a special process known as the Raku firing process. In this process, the piece is hand-molded instead of being turned on a potter's wheel and is fired at a low temperature. The piece is usually left in the kiln and some time afterward are thrown into a container with combustible materials such as sawdust or newspaper, which leaves a unique design on each piece. The piece is then dipped in water and left to cool.
There are various sub-styles of raku in Japan. These include Chojiro-raku, which is the very mysterious black and red-glazed raku mastered in the beginning by Chojiro himself, the black raku pioneered by Shoraku Sasaki called Kuro-raku, the reddish-brown Aka-raku, and Koetsu-raku, which is Honami Koetsu's style of Raku. Over the centuries since its creation by the Raku dynasty, many Japanese artists have mastered the art of Raku and created magnificent Raku pieces. Some of these artists studied under the Raku family themselves.
In Japan, one world-view that is reflected in much of the artwork of the country is that of 'wabi-sabi'. Simply put, wabi-sabi is beauty through imperfection, incompletion, and impermanence. Some of the characteristics of wabi-sabi are simplicity, irregularity, and modesty. The values of wabi-sabi reflect the Zen beliefs of the priests who created the concept many hundreds of years ago.
Raku-yaki plays an important part of the Japanese tea ceremony. In Japan, there's an old adage that goes "Raku first, Hagi second, Karatsu third." Some of the characteristics of wabi-sabi are simplicity, irregularity, and modesty. The values of wabi-sabi reflect the Zen beliefs of the priests who created the concept many hundreds of years ago. Raku has been one of Japan's most cherished art forms for over 500 years now and with its popularity rising worldwide, raku isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Over the past five centuries, the key purpose of raku has largely unchanged.
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