Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Is it really Wabi-Sabi?

Is Rikyu’s tea really Wabi? I was shocked when I read such question in a book because I wondered about the same thing before. The author says that image of Chanoyu (The Way of Tea) is Wabi-Sabi or has a rustic ambience but when he saw a black urushi-lacquered water container which is one of Rikyu’s implements, he didn’t find it rustic at all. Urushi-lacquered utensils have luster and they are even amorous. It is difficult for me to consider them rustic, too.

When I see a black urushi tea container in a tea room, I’m captivated with its elegance. Its form is extremely simple and the coating is so black and smoothly glossy. The author of the book says that urushi products usually consist of exquisite curves, and the roundness is more emphasized by the profound urushi coating. Those utensils have warmness and power.

I imagined if you arrange all the implements with old-looking items in a rustic tea room, it would be just miserable or maybe boring. Having a few items with warmness and power makes the space alive and provides a sense of formality. The author says that the beauty stands out because the luster item is in the rustic space. This is my understanding of Rikyu’s Wabi-Sabi so far. His world is not Wabi-Sabi completely. 

Kiriaiguchi black chu-natsume

Blakck chu-natsume


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