Incense Container Shaped Like a Base Stone, Iga ware, Edo period, 17th century
Japanese Gallery (Honkan) Room 4
February 14, 2023 (Tue) - May 14, 2023 (Sun)
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.
|Highlight||Incense Container Shaped Like a Base Stone||Iga ware||Edo period, 17th century||G-193|
|Highlight||Letter||By Sen no Rikyū (1522–91)||Azuchi-Momoyama period, 1590||Gift of Mr. Matsudaira Naoaki, G-4217-2||On exhibit from March 28, 2023|
|Highlight||Flower Vase with a Side Opening, Named "Onjōji"||Attributed to Sen no Rikyū (1522–91)||Azuchi-Momoyama period, 1590||Gift of Mr. Matsudaira Naoaki, G-4217-1|
|Highlight||Important Cultural Property||Bowl with a Wagtail||Mino ware, gray-Shino type||Azuchi-Momoyama–Edo period, 16th–17th century||G-5730|