Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Way of Tea


Thank you, Gwen, for reminding me of the green of macha. For some years now, my dream has been to build a tea house. A proper Japanese tea house, a space both physical and metaphorical, that exists outside of the time and space of this bustling world.

I have collected a few utensils, but so far the tea house only exists in my mind.

The calligraphy on the little painting translates "To deal with each person I meet as if it were an unique occasion." That, I believe, is the heart of the tea ceremony, in both its theory and practise.

It can take a lifetime to master the art of serving a cup of tea.

In The Book of Tea, Kakuso Okakura says the tea ceremony is:
...a cult founded on the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence. It inculcates purity and harmony, the mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of the social order. It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life.

4 comments:

  1. The tea ceremony reminds me of a shared experience with my mother when I was about sixteen: we went to a museum in Paris where there was an exhibition and they had re-created a tea-house, and we were treated to the traditional tea ceremony. I have not forgotten it, it was so special, just the two of us and the Japanese woman in attendance.
    Your post has reminded me of that special day from a long time ago.

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  2. Anonymous8:03 PM

    A tea house of the mind sounds like a perfect place. If you want something a bit more concrete though I can think of a kind of tea house that not only fits the Canadian environment but also fits into your wonderful world of textiles. A tent!

    I am sure you could whip up an amazing, enclosed space with your incredible collection of cloth to make the "walls". You could build it using traditional measurements and use a minimum amount of wood to make a frame to cover with the cloth. Then when it gets too cold or wet you can just take the whole thing down and store it inside. Or maybe you could leave four corner posts permanently standing and putting up the cloth "walls" between the posts would be like hanging up the laundry.

    Just a bit of rambling. I'm on my second cup of coffee and the caffeine is really working.

    Jean-Pierre

    ps. Beautiful green kettle. Looks like something the Easter Bunny would design.

    pps. If you need info about tea house measurements let me know. I have a pile of books.

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  3. What a lovely post. I never attended a tea cerimony, if you open your tea house it might be the right occasion to visit you in Lasqueti!
    The teapot and cups are beautiful.

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  4. I would love to visit your tea house! It's a bit of a jaunt but do tell me when it's ready for visitors! : )

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