Archive of Posts by Deborah Clearwaters

Deborah Clearwaters is director of education and public programs at the Asian Art Museum.

Raku with a big “R”

Raku Chojiro teabowlThis humble looking tea bowl, which will be on view this summer in the Lords of the Samurai exhibition, is attributed to Raku Chojiro (died 1589) the first generation of Japan’s most famous family of ceramic artists represented today by Raku Kichizaemon (born 1949) the 15th generation in the lineage. “Raku” carries multiple meanings. It is the name of one of Japan’s most prestigious artistic families, founded by the artist who made this teabowl; and it describes teabowls fired in small kilns by generations of the Raku family. Potters around the world today use “raku” to describe a type of low-temperature firing that was inspired by Japanese Raku but which has morphed into something completely different, untethered to Japanese tradition.

Little is known about Chojiro. Popular stories about his biography say his family originated from Korean tilemakers but the official Raku family website says
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Asian Heritage Street Celebration

Check out this blog with pictures about the Asian Heritage Street Celebration in our own neighborhood (Little Saigon/Civic Center/T’loin):

According to signage in the Asian Art Museum, there’s no such thing as “Asia” since the term is a Western invention, and the totally multi-culti crowd among the vendors, chefs and strollers just underlined that point.


tea master coming to sf

SenookuI am looking forward to seeing tea presentations by the Future Grand Master of the Mushakoji Senke tradition of tea, Sen So-oku. This gentleman is the heir apparent to one of the oldest and most important tea traditions spanning 400+ years back to Sen Rikyu. When his father, the 14th generation head, passes on or retires, he will become the 15th generation head or “iemoto” of the tradition.

Program details will be posted on the website soon, but if you wish to save the date, he will present on June 12 and June 13.