#204 Raku African Nativity

Acquired 1998

From Art and Artifact, these eleven dramatic figures are crafted by the Ndebeli tribe of South Africa using the techniques of the ancient pottery Japanese art of Raku. Pieces are baked in a kiln for 12 hours, then glazed and fired to 950 degrees C. They are cooled in a bed of smoldering sawdust which creates this unique, black crazing on the rich, sun washed colors. This technique was first made in the late 16th century in Kyoto, Japan and used exclusively for the tea ceremony. The bright colors and the geometric designs are influenced by the artwork of the Ndebeli tribe. The complete set totaling 11 pieces is very heavy to hold. This set was on back order from What on Earth catalog for several weeks. The customer service person helping me went personally to their stockroom to make sure I had my set before the scheduled Open House on 12/8/98. I received it the day before! This photograph was taken by Wilma Pound as she visited the Open House. Purchase price was $340.