Takahashi Rakusai (歴史)
Rakusai Generation is a culmination of 1000 years of Shigaraki pottery. The family is one of the old potter families in Shiga and has been making ceramics for five generations. They built two kilns behind their house, making very traditional style vessels. On the left image is Rakusai III died on January 17 1976 (on Sunset). Takahashi Rakusai IV, his eldest son he's a Traditional Craftsman Born in 1927, he succeeded to the family mantle in 1976. He was recognized as a "Traditional Craftsman" by Japanese Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry . Now his son Rakusai V has taken charge of the entire business. Shiga is a Prefecture in Japan. Shigaraki, Bizen, are very popular as WABI-SABI pottery. All Rakusai works presents a lovely sense of view, touch and hold in the hands. The entire family are potters who has got very high evaluation & their name has been inherited from generation to generation, & skill are well maintained today with respect. The Six Ancient kilns of Japan is a general name given to the six major sites of ceramic production since the Kamakura era(1185-1333). Shiga's Kiln is one of the six ancient kiln sites, has been produced for over 1000 years. Many potting centers have lost the dynamism that reached a peak in the Momoyama era(1568-1615), yet Shigaraki is still a thriving ceramic center very famous, and Rakusai is a must for fans. You will find Rakusai Incised into clay as ら (ra)
"The family has been instrumental in the revival of historic unglazed Shigaraki ware when the development of glazed ceramics became increasingly popular in the mid 19th and early 20th century.
Yoshiko's Great Grandfather Takahashi III was designated as the Shiga Prefectural Intangible Cultural Property in 1964 and the family today are still producing ceramics from Grandfather (iv), Father (v), to Yoshiko herself and her mother Masami who makes beautiful miniature ceramic animals.
Three wood firing kilns are maintained on the premises and usually fired on an annual basis: Noborigama, Anagama and a Snake Kiln."
Quotation marks & Image of Rakusai III, Rakusai IV & Yoshiko are Property of Amanda Chambers 2018
Photo by Tianlong Jiao.
Rakusai Family III-IV & V Generation use a hanko on the box & signs the piece with sticks. or hanko chops. Some editions are very limited, commissioned or simply considered of prestige & not intended for the masses. Details available only on Members Area.
Friendly Translation of HISTORY OF SHIGARAKI POTTERY only Available in Area Members Section
In this pic, from Left, Yoshiko Takahashi (grand daughter), Rakusai the 4th (grand father), and Rakusai the 5th (father). If you need more info, you should ask Yoshiko Takahashi directly. She studied in Canada so she speaks English fluently..Rakusai the 4th should be in good shape. We visited their studio in summer 2018. They are very nice family. Hope you enjoy Rakusai's beautiful work!
Here's a unique Shigaraki serving bowl by Takahashi Rakusai V (b.1954) in perfect condition with a signed box & on base.
Rakusai have incomparable warm beauty of clay and form, the whole family-along with the Ueda one is the longest potting family in Shiga responsible for preserving true tradition, and since the second world war without their persistence the flames of Shigaraki might have been extinguished forever.
With its long tradition of craftsmanship and abundant supply of unique clay, Shigaraki continues to excel in ceramic making in Japan. Many ceramists set up their studios and kilns in the Shigaraki valley. The artistic practices of these artists are very diverse. Some of them create non-functional, free-form ceramics, completely different from any traditional pots. Yet many of them, still attached to tradition, use old techniques to make new products.