Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The essentials: 4. Make it seem warm in winter, and cool in summer


The ancient tea master, Rikyu once said “Make it seem warm in winter, and cool in summer”.  This is one of the seven essentials of The Way of Tea, which I introduced on the previous entry.

In tea ceremonies, the position of the heath is usually close to the guests in winter and far in summer.  I think this scenario could be one of the examples of the essential.  However, I also think this lesson is not only telling us about actual temperatures.   The coolness or warmth can be expressed with the design of utensils, confections or hanging scrolls. 



In summer, you can use a flat-type water container, which creates a large water surface.  The appearance of water can provide some kind of coolness.   Thick and narrow types of a tea bowls are often preferred in winter.  They actually keep the tea warmer, but also their atmosphere creates visual warmth.  I think that these thoughtful hospitalities of the host can help create a better comfort for his/her guests.  In other words, you’d better have a good sense of the season.

I also have a further interpretation more than the sense of the season.  For instance, even if the host serves you a perfect taste of tea, would you be able to enjoy the tea in a very noisy place or in an extremely cold place?  Probably you wouldn’t…  I believe the environment is as important as the taste of tea.   Creating a comfortable environment for your guests is essential.  I think that the comfortable air condition is only one of the examples. 

My interpretation of Rikyu’s “Make it seem warm in winter, and cool in summer” is that
environment of things are very important.

5 comments:

  1. Very interesting comment on how to project warmth and coolness in a tea house environment!

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    Replies
    1. I guess that we love those psychological point of view, not only physical.

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    1. Hi, thanks for stopping by! I’m doing this blog by myself, but I ask my tutors (Non-native English speakers) to check my English.

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