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Architecture l Gardens l Ikebana l Religion l Tea Ceremony

Tea Ceremony

In 700 AD, tea was drunk to promote alertness. Chanoyu, sado, or 'the way of the tea' dates back to the Nara period and was used by meditating Buddhist monks. In the 14th Century, it took a turn and became a highly elaborate and expensive pursuit for the nobility.

Tea ceremony, however, made a significant impact on society in the 16th Century. It was Sen no Rokkyu (1522-91) who created a simple, minimalist aesthetic with utensils that echoed the irregularities of the natural world. Other tea masters followed suit with various approaches and tea ceremony has since evolved into three main Senke schools, which are Ura, Omote, and Mushakoji. Other influential schools include Enshu, Yabunouchi, and Sohen.

To the Japanese, drinking tea is not merely slurping beverage. It involves a number of preparation and discipline that are conducted according to a highly stylized etiquette. In a way, the mental discipline involved in tea ceremonies is associated with the fundamental training of a samurai warrior.

The traditional setting of a tea ceremony comprises a thatched teahouse that is located in a landscaped garden. For a novice, the proceedings and preparations are rather laborious; but connoisseurs would understand and appreciate tea as an art form, which would take years of training and reflection.

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