Reportage: Research: Cultural Archive: Japanese Tea Ceremony

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The tea ceremony as it came to be when paired with Zen Buddhism: tranquil, reflective, at one with nature. By Hokusai Katsushika

We were asked to research a place or activity, so I decided to look at the Japanese tea ceremony.  Pardon me while I copy some text wholesale from wikipedia:

The Japanese tea ceremony, also called the Way of Tea, is a Japanese cultural activity involving the ceremonial preparation and presentation of matcha (抹茶), powdered green tea.

In Japanese, it is called chanoyu (茶の湯?) or sadō, chadō (茶道?), while the manner in which it is performed, or the art of its performance, is called (o)temae ([お]手前; [お]点前?).[1] Zen Buddhism was a primary influence in the development of the Japanese tea ceremony.

We now return to our regularly scheduled blogging.

The Japanese tea ceremony has waxed and waned in popularity and importance since tea was brought to Japan by Buddhist monks in the 9th century. At times it became a massive sign of spectacle allowing the powerful to showcase their opulence, but during the Warring States period during the 16th century, it had been reimagined under Sen no Rikyū into an exemplar of Zen Buddhism. This video explains it far more succinctly than I can.

The notion of concentrating fully on simple tasks to ensure excellence can be applied to craft as well. Thanks to the evolution of the tea ceremony, it can have significance to a very broad group of people. I mean, I’m not going to put that kind of effort into a cup of tea, but I certainly wouldn’t be against applying that level of conscious thought and care to my artwork.

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A traditional tea house, surrounded by nature

The tea ceremony is still regarded as a traditional, cultural signifier for Japan.  Having been around for so long, there will no doubt be other periods of transition that will interest those who care to look.

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Some of the utensils used in the ceremony

 

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