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Raku tea bowl were initially called Ima-yaki lieterally, “now wares”. It was an avant-garde art, the shock of the new.

Origin of the name Raku

Why is it called Raku?

Raku ware was born out of an unprecedented methodology and technique.
However it was not called Raku ware when Rikyû and Chôjirô were active.
It was initially called Ima-yaki, “now wares”, wares produced at the present time, that is to say, tea bowls that looked avant-garde. They were subsequently renamed juraku-yaki, “juraku wares”, due to the fact that the Raku home was nearby the Jurakudai Palace and also Sen Rikyû who lived inside the premises of the Palace was a central figure to the birth and the promotion of Chôjirô's tea bowls. Jurakudai was a palace built by Toyotomo Hideyoshi (1537~1598), the leading warrior statesman of the time, and was one of the greatest symbols of his age.
Juraku-yaki was eventually abbreviated as Raku-yaki, Raku ware. It is believed that Hideyoshi presented Chôjirô with a seal bearing the Chinese character for Raku.
Raku then became the name of the family that produced these wares.
This is the only example in the history of a family name becoming synonymous with the ceramics they produced. Now Raku ware has become a general term for a type of ceramic technique globally known and practiced. However, at first it meant just wares pioneered by Chôjirô together with Rikyû and practiced exclusively by the Raku family.

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