Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Monday, August 15, 2011

The ceremony of tea and Taian teahouse

Taian Teahouse. From original Taian was built between 1582 and 1583, over 400 years ago. Recently, Nakamura Toshinori reconstructed the Taian at the Daitokuji Temple. The Taian was reconstructed according to an account left by Sen no Rikyu’s disciple, Yamanoue Sojiki.  Taian was originally built within Hideyoshi’s castle in Yamazaki. 
Taian Teahouse, isometric view. From
Tokonoma of the Taian Teahouse. From

The Japanese tea ceremony involves the ritual preparation, serving, and drinking of green tea. The fundamental practices begin in China, but they developed in Japan to a much higher degree of sophistication, peaking in the Momoyama period. Simple forms of the ceremony tea started in Japan in Zen temples as a symbolic withdrawal from the ordinary world to cultivate the mind and spirit. The practices spread to other social groups, especially samurai and, by the late 16th century, wealthy merchants. Until the late Muromachi period, grand tea ceremonies in warrior residences served primarily as an excuse to display treasured collections of Chinese objects, such as porcelains, lacquers, and paintings.
Initially, the Japanese held tea ceremonies in a room or section of a house. As the popularity of the ceremonies increased, freestanding teahouses became common. The ceremony involves the sequence of rituals in which both host and guests participate. The host’s responsibilities include serving the guests; selecting special utensils, such as water jars and tea bolws; and determining the tearoom’s decoration, which changes according to occasion and season. Aknowledged as having superior aesthetic sensibilities, individuals recognized as master tea ceremony practitioners (tea masters) advise patrons on the ceremony and acquire students. Tea masters even direct or influence the design of tea houses and of tearooms within larger structures (including in teriors and gardens) as well as the design of utensils. They often make simple bamboo implements and occasionally even ceramic vessels.
From: Gardner´s Art Through the Ages: Non Western Perspectives.  By Fred S. Kleiner, Christin J. Mamiya.

Tea ceremony water jar. Momoyama period, late 16th Century. From Gardner´s art through the ages.
The Taian teahouse, one of only three in Japan designated as National Treasures, is the oldest in Japan. Said to be the creation of Sen no Rikyu, the interior of the tea room measures two tatami mats in size.

Read about Taian Tea house, the most ancient one:

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