Stories from a Tearoom Window

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Tuttle Publishing
Hardcover, Jacketed
Date Published:
over 50 b&w line art illus
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4 X 7 1/4

The Japanese tea ceremony blends art with nature and has for centuries brought harmony to the daily life of its practitioners.

Stories From a Tearoom Window is a timeless collection of tales of the ancient tea sages, compiled in the eighteenth century. Both longtime adherents and newcomers to the tea ceremony will be fascinated by these legends, anecdotes, bits of lore and history that so aptly express the essence of tea.

Many of these stories center around the lives of the great tea masters. First among them is Sen no Rikyu, who perfected the tea ceremony and embodies its poise, modesty and refinement. Among the famous tales recounted here are those of Rikyu's morning glory tea ceremony and of his tragic death. Darker presences of the great warlords Nobunaga and Hideyoshi, who sponsored and also abused Rikyu, are manifest as well.

Holding to the tea ceremony's core ideal of natural simplicity, author Shigenori Chikamatsu brings to the page stories which touch on the related arts of ceramics, poetry, Zen, calligraphy, and the origins of everyday items of Japanese life such as the cotton tabi split-toed socks and the bento lunchbox.

Chapters include:
  • Tearooms in the Old Days
  • Flowers in the Tea Garden
  • The Origins of Tea
  • Iori's Tea Scoop
  • Famous Lacquerers
  • The Legacy of Rikyu's House
  • The Tea Ceremony for Warriors

About the Author:
Chikamatsu Shigenori was born in 1695 into a family of retainers to the Tokugawa clan in Owari province (Aichi prefecture). He was not a professional tea master, but rather a warrior who studied and deeply enjoyed the tea ceremony. In 1739, he compiled a manuscript on the tea ceremony that remained unpublished at his death in 1778. The manuscript lay neglected until someone anonymously selected one hundred and twenty-nine of the original three hundred and five stories and published them in 1804 in the present collection.

Kozaburo Mori and Toshiko Mori, who are husband and wife, collaborated in producing this book. Mrs. Mori learned the tea ceremony at a Sen school, taking the "tea name" of Soen. After many years of studying the classics of tea ceremony, she came upon an old manuscript of these stories in 1973, and a few years later brought out the first modern Japanese edition, on which this volume is based. Mr. Mori was Professor of English at Shikoku Women's University and Lecturer at Tokushima University. In 1980 he received the Order of the Sacred Treasure from the Emperor of Japan for his long service in education.