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Summer, 2001 Newsletter - Homepage
  Introduction: "The Perfection of Cha-no-yu"

Tea is nought but this:
First you heat the water,
Then you make the tea.
Then you drink it properly
That is all you need to know

   - Sen no Rikyu

   By the early sixteenth century tea had been known to the Japanese for at least seven hundred years. Initially a transplant from the Buddhist monasteries of China, the ceremonial serving of tea in Japan gradually evolved into an art form for the masses. In earlier segments of this series, we explored the developmental stages of Cha-no-yu, which is popularly called The Japanese Tea Ceremony. The formative years of Cha-no-yu coincided with the most significant developments of Japanese culture. It was the favorite amusement of many of the Japanese aesthetes, artists, and nobility for several centuries. The final form of the ceremony emerged as an amalgam of the essential elements of sophisticated Japanese decorum.

   Ceremonial tea assumed a variety of forms over the centuries, and even today there are advocates of distinctly different styles. However, the simple aesthetic thatched hut tea ceremony (soan cha) of the fifteenth century became the paradigm for many of the great Tea Masters who would follow. Since the Tea Masters were considered to be the experts in all matters of taste and etiquette, their promotion of the simpler tea ceremony guaranteed the success of soan cha even among the wealthy and the powerful. This specific form of Cha-no-yu is certainly the most widely celebrated in literature.

Read more in The Perfection of Cha-no-yu

 Related Information:
   Part I: Tea Comes to Japan
   Part II: Tea and the Samurai
   Part III: Tea Becomes a Way
   Part IV: Advent of Thatched Hut Tea
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