Imported to Japan from China during the 9th century, the custom of serving tea did not become widespread until the 13th century. By the late 15th and 16th centuries, tea was ceremonially prepared by a skilled tea master and served to guests in a tranquil setting. This way of preparing tea became known as chanoyu, literally “hot water for tea.”
This elegant book explores the aesthetics and history of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, examining the nature of tea collections and the links between connoisseurship, politics, and international relations. It also surveys current practices and settings in light of the ongoing transformation of the tradition in contemporary tea houses. Among the precious objects discussed and pictured are ceramic tea bowls, wooden tea scoops, metal sake pourers, and lacquered incense containers, as well as folding screens that evoke the historical settings of serving tea.