Raku Ware: The Cosmos in a Tea Bowl

22.09.2015 – 15.11.2015

Main Building

The exhibition "Raku Ware: The Cosmos in a Tea Bowl" is dedicated to the developmental history of one of the best known ceramics traditions in the Japanese art extending back over 450 years and tracing its roots to the end of the 16th century.

The potters of the Raku dynasty created a very special world of beauty unparalleled in the history of the Japanese ceramics. The pieces of these masters are made in a special technique and represent the objects being used in the traditional Japanese art of cha no yu – the "Way of Tea". The appearance and further development of the Raku Ware are very closely associated with the tea ritual tradition, philosophy and aesthetics of wabi, as well as the influence of the great tea master of the 16th century Sen no Rikyû on forming a new aesthetics. During the Momoyama period the tea ceremony came into fashion having embraced all classes and degrees and thus stimulated the development of pottery production. The first master Raku Chôjirô made his bowls on demand of Sen no Rikyû, and these particular tea bowls had become manifestation of the tea ritual for Rikyû.

In 1997 at the initiative of Raku Kichizaemon XV in a number of foreign countries – Italy, France, Holland – there took place the exhibition entitled "RAKU. A Dynasty of Japanese Ceramists" at which along with his own fifty works there were displayed the works of the leading Raku potters belonging to different generations. This was, in effect, a first introduction of the Raku ceramics to Europe. In 2015 there was organized the exhibition in USA (the Los Angeles County Museum of Art) and also in Russia (the Hermitage Museum and the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts).

At the exhibition of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts are presented the works of all masters of the Raku school from the first patriarch Raku Chôjirô to the current fifteenth head of the family Raku Kichizaemon XV and his heir and successor Raku Atsundo (Raku Kichizaemon XVI) from the Raku Museum in Kyoto, the Sagawa Art Museum (Moriyama, Shiga prefecture), the Tokyo and Kyoto National Museums, many private collections and museums of Japan. This exposition exceeds on its scale any exhibition arranged outside Japan — in Italy, Holland, France, USA.

The exhibition "Raku Ware: The Cosmos in a Tea Bowl" is organized by the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, the Raku Museum (Kyoto) and the Japan Foundation in cooperation with the Embassy of Japan in Russia with the assistance of the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto.

Exhibition Curators:

Matsubara Ryuichi (Chief Curator, The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto)

Ainura Yusupova (Head of the Prints and Drawings Department, The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts)

Exhibition runs from 22 September (Tuesday) to 15 November (Sunday) 2015

Supported by

Informational partners

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