This Japanese vintage Raku-ware 楽焼き jubako or nest of three ceramic food boxes are made by the Master potter Ryōfūken Seigetsu or 涼風軒清月 楽師 . Kusaba san taught me that Raku shi means a Raku Master. There are three boxes with two having the most famous Raku colors of red and green with a cream colored box in between. They each have a lid, with the green box having four small feet one on each color. They are decorated in off-white and silver on the outside by the potter's hand, in painting of the popular 'Shochikuba', or pine, bamboo and plum tree, They are spray painted lightly with silver on one side only to show the side of each box that goes in first to fit against the wooden sticks that look like chop sticks, which hold them in securely. The dark brown hand-made wooden stained box made to hold them, is all hand made with pieces that fit together to hold it together requiring no metal pieces, All of the pottery boxes and the wooden box are signed on the bottom by another artist, the wooden box made by a woodwork artist who has signed it on the bottom in red and shown on our Facebook page.
A tomobako is made for the entire set, this is the box made with a description of the item and the artist name, made especially for the item. On the outside of the tomobako or the unfinished wooden box: In the middle the most important part, 楽焼信玄作 or the Master potter and name of the kiln, 'Raku yaki made by Shingen'. From right to left it also reads, with some questions as to accuracy of kanji, '十人前 - 内' or 'Setting for Ten people', then 一'閑枠 楽焼 信玄 弁當' or 'Ikkanwaku Raku-yaki Shingen Bentou', bento meaning lunch box, lastly 坡南 or Hanan, the potter's name working under the Master Ryōfūken Seigetsu Raku shi- the 'shi' part meaning Master. Thank you so much Yoshio Kusaba san and Jamie, for help with that lengthy translation. Thank you very much Yoshio Kusaba san for teaching us, who did the interpretation ond these in a team effort with his conclusion.
The entire set appears to date to between the early Showa period and mid-20th century. Someone who was in Japan right after we were in the 1960’s said they had a similar set. It is in excellent condition with no cracks or chips. On the inside edge of the white box there is some loss of enamel along part of one edge. On the bottom part of the stained box, there is some loss of stain along one bottom edge of the box. The box maker's name is signed in ted, we do not know what it says. This is a great piece of Raku pottery from a part of Japan with great history and very well made. While we could not find a site for the kiln, most likely it is in the Kyoto area, We did find one other item for sale by him and we are competitive.
We have more pictures combined with the owners including those showing the glaze loss which is very very minimal, some are on Facebook, and if you are considering purchasing and would like to see them, we are happy to email them to you. See out other porcelain and lacquerware stacking boxes in the store.
SIZES: Height 7.2 inches or 18.28 cm, Width 5.7 inches or 14.48 cm by x 5.9 inches or 14.98 cm, Weight 2570 grams or 5.66 lbs. It is very heavy packed. I find we can better help with a shipping discount if we know the cost to your home instead of trying to flat rate, and will help with both US and International shipping costs depending on your cost, and to get this safely packed.
Raku-ware Pottery, Raku-yaki 楽焼き
There are many many resources on the internet for information about Raku and the concept of ‘wabi-sabi’ in addition to many books written. This is just one we happened to save the name of the resource for from the New World Encyclopdia, Raku 樂 or Rakuyaki 樂焼き is a form of Japanese pottery characterized by simple, hand-formed bowls, low firing temperatures resulting in a fairly porous body, lead glazes, and the removal of pottery from the kiln while still glowing hot. Raku is the traditional method for creating bowls for the Japanese Tea ceremony. Raku tea bowls are hand made from earthenware, each with a unique shape, glaze and style.
The term of ‘Raku’ was derived from the site where clay was dug in Kyoto in the late 16th century and is found in Kanji character meaning ‘enjoyment’ or ‘ease.’ Raku ware is one type of example of Japanese pottery of ‘wabi-sabi’, meaning simplicity, enjoyment, and more information which can be found on the internet. This lineage of potters believes that 'Raku' refers to the potters who use the technique, not the technique itself. For 15 generations it has been the title and seal used by a lineage of potters whose work formed the central tradition in Japan.
The Zen philosophy behind the Japanese tea ceremony influenced the artistic style of Raku potters in Japan. For 15 generations, the official Raku title and seal has been used by a line of potters whose work formed the central tea pottery tradition in Japan. Raku was also made by numerous workshops in and around Kyoto, as well as by amateur tea pottery practitioners and professional potters throughout Japan after the publication of a Raku-style manual in the eighteenth century.
The making of Raku ware was initiated during the Momoyama period 1573-1615 by a potter named Sasaki Chojiro 長次郎. Chojiro came under the patronage of the tea master Sen-No-Rikyu 1522-1591, who asked him to create bowls that would match the aesthetics of wabicha, the highly ritualized Japanese green tea ceremony. From that collaboration, Raku ware came into existence.
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