Chashaku and Sensu

    The root end of the bamboo cha-shaku, 茶杓, tea-scoop, is at the same end as the handles of both of the sen-su, 扇子, fan-of. The distance between the bamboo fushi, 節, node, and the handle end of the chashaku and the papered section of the yellow sensu. The distance between the chashaku fushi and its scoop is similar to that of the handle of the black sensu. Were the curve of the scoop to be flattened, the measurement would be the same. The sensu is the implement of the kyaku, 客, guest, while the chashaku is the implement of the tei-shu, 亭主, house-master. The kyaku...

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Tenmae and Temae

A procedure of preparing and making a bowl of tea is called a ten-mae, 點前, offer-fore. The Kanji, 點, is also written 点前, using 点, the simplification of the Kanji 點. Other preparations, are called te-mae, 手前, hand-fore. An older version of the Kanji for ten is 㸃, which more clearly separates the five aspects of the character. The Kanji may be seen as being composed of five Kanji representing the Go-rin, 五輪, Five rings, metaphysical principles. The following is an analysis of the Kanji 㸃. Uranau,卜, to divine; combines a Yō line and an In line. Kuchi, 口, mouth; symbolic of differentiated In and Yō.    ...

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Jizō and the Gotoku

    Jizō is often depicted with a round bamboo, umbrella-shaped hat called an a-jiro gasa, 網代笠, woven-era-umbrella. It is fitted inside with a bamboo openwork ring called a go-toku, 五徳, five-virtues, (usually written in Katakana, ゴトク). It is most interesting to think that Jizō is so closely associated with the gotoku, five virtues of Buddhism. The devout wear such hats on their pilgrimages. Although they are made in various sizes, one of the standards has a diameter of 14 sun kane-jaku, the gotoku diameter is 6 sun kane. In Chanoyu, a similar hat or umbrella is used in the roji, and is called a ro-ji gasa,...

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Tea in April

Following the principles of a particular tradition or school influences those choices. In modern times decoration and adornments that reflect the seasons is of greater importance than in the past. Choosing various objects for special reasons, creates an atmosphere that can be unexpectedly meaningful. It should be remembered that when choosing the utensils that they are appropriate for the guest. The tori–awase in the picture has a deep significance for the host.     Kake-jiku, 掛軸, hang-scroll; ‘Matsu ko-kon iro nashi,’ 松無古今色, Pine no past present form, written by Oku-da Yuki-o, 奥田行朗, Inner-ricefield Transition-son , 58th abbot of Ō-baku-san Man-puku-ji, 黄檗山萬福寺, Yellow-oak-mountain Ten thousand-fortune-temple, U-ji, 宇治,...

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A Petal Puzzle – Unryū Gama

Sen no Rikyū’s un-ryū gama, 雲龍釜, cloud-dragon kettle, is modeled on a Ming Chinese water vessel. The body of the kettle has the design of a dragon amid clouds and rain. The lid of the kettle has a design of many concentric rings that suggests water ripples. The lid has a geometric ball knob, tsumami, 摘み, pinch, with a loosely attached metal ring. The knob is set on an escutcheon, za, 座, seat, in the form of a multi-petalled flower. The flower appears to resemble a kiku, 菊, chrysanthemum and a hasu, 蓮, lotus. The question is which, or what flower is it? The escutcheon on the...

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Unryū Gama

The unryū gama has a form that is unlike the many standard models used in Chanoyu, when it was created in the 16th century by Sen no Rikyū. The pictured kama is used with the ro, 炉, hearth, and there are smaller versions used with the fu-ro, 風炉, wind-hearth. In March, Urasenke uses a tsuri-gama, 釣釜, suspend-kettle, and quite often the unryū-gama is the preferred choice.   It is recorded that Sen no Rikyū had the kettle made to copy a mizu-sashi, 水指, water-indicate, that was in the possession of Take-no Jō-ō, 武野紹鴎, War-field Help-gull. The mizusashi was a Chinese blue and white porcelain vessel with an...

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Cha 茶月Tsuki

  Cha茶月Tsuki is a continuous calendar of important events listed by month  Cha 茶月Tsuki  for February 2024  A solar leap year. Tatsu-doshi, 辰年, Dragon-year. Lunar New Year February 10, 2024. The Kanji, 辰, means to tremble.  February, Kisaragi, 如月, Like-month. Nyo, 如, tathata (Buddhist ultimate nature of all things).  1 Lunar 12/22. Ei-hei-ji, 永平寺, Ever-peace-temple, start of intensive week of Buddhist abstinence called Ne-han-kai, 涅槃会, Black soil-tub-meeting, features the display of a painting of the death and Nirvana of the Buddha. Eiheiji is among the first temples to present an early form of Tea Ceremony brought from China. 3 Han-getsu, 半月, half-moon. Setsu-bun, 節分, Season-divide; eve of...

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Rikyū Chū-natsume

One of the most important objects in Chanoyu is the Rikyū-gata chū-natsume, 利休形中棗, Rikyū-form middle-jujube. It is an essential container for ma-tcha, 抹茶, powder-tea, and is used to contain tea for both presentations of usu-cha, 薄茶, thin-tea, and koi-cha, 濃茶, thick-tea. The Rikyū-gata chū-natsume can be used in the simplest presentation of ryaku-bon, 略盆, abbreviated-tray, to the most formal using the dai-su, 台子, support-of. The height of the chū–natsume is 1.8 sun kujira-jaku. Lacquer artists traditionally use the kujira-jaku for their measurements. The diameter is 1.8 sun kujira, which is equal to the height. The Rikyū-gata chū-natsume is used to determine the distance between certain Tea utensils....

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Tea in March

In the world of Chanoyu, March is a time when Sen no Rikyū, 千利休, Thousand ’s Rich-quit, is honored and memorialized. Rikyū was born in 1522 and died in 1591. His death, according to the old lunar calendar, was on the 28th day of the second month in 1591. That year had an added ‘leap’ second lunar first month to make adjustments for lunar events to more closely ally with the solar calendar. The actual date of his death was April 21.   Kake-mono, 掛物, hang-thing, Rikyū no e, 利休の絵, Rikyū’s picture. With calligraphy from the left: 釈迦仏天下人   Sha-ka Butsu ten-ka-jin,  Explain-‘ka’ Buddha heaven-down-person    [Shaka or...

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Tying the Sanada Himo Musubi

Tying the Sanada himo, 真田紐, True-ricefield braid, ribbon of a hako, 箱, box, containing cha-dō-gu, 茶道具, tea-way-tool. Paper may cover the box to protect writing on the lid. Writing and identification on the front of the box is the shō-men, 正面, true-face.  The style of braid bears the name of Sana-da Masa-yuki, 真田 昌幸, True-field, a warlord of the 16th and 17th century, whose sword handles were bound in cords of such weaving technique.   The continuous braid is laid over the middle of box: it is not folded. The right loose braid is laid over the center and folded and turned under the center, and moved...

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