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Japanese lead-glazed earthenware, originally invented expressly for the tea ceremony in 16th-century Kyoto. Quite distinct from wares that preceded it, raku represents an attempt to arrive at a new kind of beauty by deliberate repudiation of existing forms. The shape of the vessels is extremely simple: a wide, straight-sided bowl set on a narrow base. Because raku wares are molded entirely by hand rather than thrown on a wheel, each piece clearly expresses the individuality of the maker's hand; and pieces tend to be unique creations. The glaze colours include dark brown, light orange-red, straw colour, green, and cream.