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A brief introduction to tea ceremony

Tea ceremony - the artful form of preparation, presentation and consumption

(In Japanese: Chadō, Sadō, Chanoyu 茶道・茶の湯)

Tea ceremony - Chadō in Japanese - is a method of preparing, presenting and consuming tea where various arts and philosophies are intertwined.

Before briefly introducing the origins and history of tea ceremony, we must draw a few distinctions. Our association is involved in teaching the art of Urasenke tea ceremony, not the everyday preparation and drinking of green tea. As such, by "tea" we denote not its everyday consumption but the art form itself. That art form which over the centuries has come to encompass several Japanese traditional arts; those which over time have themselves changed according to the rules of tea ceremony.

In order to master tea ceremony, one must be well versed in each of the following:

  • teahouse architecture: knowledge of architecture and materials
  • preparation of tea utensils: pottery; bamboo, iron and wood working
  • flower arrangement: different from ikebana, arranging of flowers according to the rules of tea ceremony
  • arranging ash and charcoal: the art of preparing hot water for tea; experience in preparing charcoal that will allow an odorless and smoke-free fire; and preparing an ash formation that allows the beautiful and optimal burning of charcoal
  • tea sweets: the rules of designing and preparing the two basic types of sweets, omogashi (moist sweets) and higashi (dry sweets) in order to communicate philosophy, emotions and thoughts through a small piece of tea sweet
  • tea cuisine: preparing the menu for a tea gathering
  • kimono: the art of expressing seasons and the significance of events through the fabric, color and cut of kimono worn; and the art of putting on and wearing kimono
  • meditation: the way of concentration
  • procedures of tea preparation: the learning and practice of methods to handle tea utensils and preparing tea according to rules, and thus learning movement, esthetics and philosophy.

Learning the basics of tea ceremony means to learn, integrate and practice the above to build them into one cohesive system. Many years' worth of experience and making these skills everyday routines form the major milestones along the "path of tea."

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