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Tea Ceremony

"Tea Ceremony "

Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 4  January 2, 2022 (Sun) - March 21, 2022 (Mon)

  
Water Jar with a Straight Lip, Named "Shiba no Iori (Grass Hut)", Shigaraki ware, Azuchi-Momoyama–Edo period, 16th–17th century (Important Cultural Property, Gift of Mr. Hirota Matsushige)

Tea drinking and its role in society changed over time. In the 12th century, Zen monks introduced a new kind of tea drinking from China: green tea was ground into a powder and mixed with hot water. Monks drank this tea as a medicine and to stay awake during meditation.

Before long, the samurai also began to drink tea and competed for prizes in blind tasting competitions. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the elite samurai who ruled Japan focused on the aesthetics of tea drinking. They collected valuable Chinese works like paintings and tea bowls, displaying and using them during tea gatherings.

A century later, Sen no Rikyū (1522–91) established the foundations of the tea ceremony. When serving tea, he used valuable Chinese works together with simple utensils. He also stressed humility and the beauty of imperfection. Elite samurai practiced his style and its variations as a social, aesthetic, and spiritual pursuit.

From its origins until the present, the tea ceremony has always incorporated diverse genres of art. Works that tea masters believed had great aesthetic or historical value were carefully passed down through the generations. A selection of these works is shown here and changed regularly to reflect the seasons.

Major Work(s) on Exhibit 9 results
Designation Name Amount Creation Excavation Period Acquisition Ownership Comment
Highlight Important Cultural Property Water Jar with a Straight Lip, Named "Shiba no Iori (Grass Hut)" Shigaraki ware Azuchi-Momoyama–Edo period, 16th–17th century Gift of Mr. Hirota Matsushige, G-5307
Kettle ("Shinnari Gama") with Pines Ashiya ware Muromachi period, 15th century Gift of Mr. Matsunaga Yasuzaemon, E-20186
Highlight Tea Bowl, Named "Suehiro" By Chōjirō; Raku ware, black-Raku type Azuchi-Momoyama–Edo period, 16th–17th century Gift of Mr. Hirota Matsushige, G-5335
Highlight Tea Scoop By Takeno Jōō (1502–55) Muromachi period, 16th century Gift of Mr. Matsudaira Naoaki, G-4216
Highlight Important Art Object Tea Bowl, Named "Uraku Ido" Korea, Previously owned by Oda Urakusai and Kinokuniya Bunzaemon Joseon dynasty, 16th century Gift of Mr. Matsunaga Yasuzaemon, TG-2204
Part of the "Collected Poems of Lady Ise" (One of the "Ishiyama Fragments") Attributed to Fujiwara no Kintō (966–1041) Heian period, 12th century Gift of Mr. Matsunaga Yasuzaemon, B-2429 On exhibit from February 15, 2022
Highlight Important Cultural Property Flower Vase in the Shape of a "Cong" Ritual Vessel Guan ware, China, Passed down by the Owari Tokugawa clan Southern Song dynasty, 12th–13th century Gift of Mr. Hirota Matsushige, TG-2167
Fan-Shaped Food Cups ("Mukōzuke") Mino ware, Oribe type Edo period, 17th century G-5760
Gourd-Shaped Sake Bottles with Auspicious Motifs Imari ware Edo period, 17th century G-1794