A woman wearing a kimono performs a tea ceremony. It is not clear which specific style of ceremony is being performed, but visible in the image are the kettle, the ro, and the tea bowl. The object at the far right of the image is a bamboo marker which marks the seating position of the host. Such markers take many forms; this one is somewhat unusual, but is of a type used for outdoor ceremonies.
Photograph taken by Stephane D'Alu in April 2004

Raku is Japanese and means:
«Happiness lies in the unexpected»

Raku came into being in Japan in the sixteenth century through the collaboration between a tea master and a potter. This encounter, ruled by the Zen philosophy, paved the way for a purified ceramics for the tea ceremony, stripped of all superfluous artifices.

The originality of the Raku firing lies in its brutality: i.e. to open the kiln at 1000°C to smoke the incandescent pots and accentuate the effects of the metallic glazing. This process makes the pieces undergo a considerable thermal shock.

The Raku technique was exported to the United States in the Sixties, and then later to Europe. The characteristic Raku firing changed when in contact with Westerners. Moving away from the Zen philosophy, this technique became a splendid media of liberty in which the capacity of expression is incomparable.