This squat bowl is not smooth but has subtle irregularities in texture and shape, intentionally highlighted by the brilliant red glaze.
Since the late sixteenth century, red has competed with black as a favored color for teabowls. Red bowls come in an astonishingly wide range of colors, from a rusty orange to a pale pink. They are made with a clear glaze over red slip (thin, watery clay). Although this bowl bears a seal reading “raku,” here it probably indicates the style rather than the maker of the bowl. Similarities to pottery made in western Japan suggest that this bowl may come from a workshop in the Hagi or Karatsu area. The bowl demonstrates the wide appeal of the Raku technique to tea practitioners of late Edo-period Japan.