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THE BOOK OF TEA

I THE BOOK OF TEA


Cv^-

BY

OKAKURA-KAKUZO

G. P.

PUTNAM'S SONS
1906

London and New York

cyco

Copyright 1906 by

Fox

Dui^FiEi^D

& Company

To

JOHN LAFARGB
Sensei

229601

CONTENTS
PAOS

Chapter

I.

The Cup of Humanity

I Chapter

ennobled into Teaism, a religion of the adoration of the beautiful among everyday facts Teaism developed among both nobles and peasants The mutual misunderstanding of the New World and the OldThe Worship of Tea in the West Early records of Tea in European writing The Taoists' version of the combat between Spirit and Matter The modern struggle for wealth and power
aestheticism,

Tea

II.

The Schools

of Tea

stages of the evolution of Tea The Boiled Tea, the Whipped Tea, and the Steeped Tea, representative of the Tang, the Sung, and the Ming dynasties of China Luwuh, the first apostle of TeaThe Tea-ideals of the three dynasties To the latter-day Chinese Tea is a delicious beverage, but not an ideal In Japan Tea is a religion of the art of life .

The three

25

Chapter

III.

Taoism and Zennism

The connection of Zennism with Tea Taoism, and its successor Zennism, represent the individualistic trend of the Southern Chinese mind Taoism accepts the mundane and tries to find beauty in our world of woe and worry

CONTENTS
PAGE Zennism emphasizes the teachings of Taoism Through consecrated meditation may be attained supreme self-realisation Zennism, like

the worship of Relativity Ideal of Teaism a result of the Zen conception of greatness in the smallest incidents of life Taoism furnished the basis for aesthetic ideals, Zennism made them practical

Taoism,

is

47

Chapter

IV.

The Tea-Room

The tea-room does not pretend to be other than The simplicity and purism of a mere cottage Symbolism in the construction the tea-room The system of its decoration of the tea-room A sanctuary from the vexations of the outer

world

7S

Chapter

V.

Art Appreciation

Sympathetic communion of minds necessary for art appreciation The secret understandThe ing between the master and ourselves Art is of value only to value of suggestion

No real feelthe extent that it speaks to us ing in much of the apparent enthusiasm to-day Confusion of art with archaeology ^We are destroying art in destroying the beautiful in

life

lOS

^Chapter VI.

Flowers

The Master of Flowers our constant friends The waste of Flowers^ among WestFlowers The art of floriculture in ern conmiunities the East The Tea-Masters and the Cult of The Art of Flower Arrangement Flowers The adoration of the Flower for its own sake

viii

CONTENTS

The Flower-Masters Two main branches ofPACE


the schools of Flower Arrangement, the Formalistic and the Naturalesque 123

Chapter JBI. _Tea-Masters


Real appreciation of art only possible to those Contribuwho make of it a living influence Their influence tions of the Tea-Masters to art on the conduct of lifeThe Last Tea of Rikiu 151

,THE CUP OF

HUMANITY

THE BOOK OF TEA

THE CUP OF HUMANITY


iEA began as a medicine and grew
into a beverage.

In China,

in the

eighth century,

it

entered the reahn of

poetry as one of the polite amusements.

The
ble

fifteenth century
into a religion

saw Japan ennoof aestheticism

it

Teaism.

Teaism

is

a cult founded on

the adoration of the beautiful

among

the sordid facts of everyday existence.


It inculcates purity

and harmony, the


It
essenit

mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of the social order.


tially
is
is

a worship of the Imperfect, as

a tender attempt to accomplish some-

THE BOOK OF TEA


thing possible in this impossible thing

we know as life. The Philosophy of Tea


of the term, for
it

is

not mere

aestheticism in the ordinary acceptance

expresses conjointly

with ethics and religion our whole point

of view about
^

man and
it

nature.

It

is

hygiene, for
is

it

enforces cleanliness;

it

economics, for

shows comfort in

simplicity rather than in the

complex

and

costly;

it is

moral geometry, inas-

much

as

it

defines our sense of propor-

tion to the universe.

It represents the

true spirit of Eastern democracy

by
in

making
taste.

all

its

votaries

aristocrats

The long

isolation of

Japan from

the rest of the world, so conducive to introspection, has been highly favourable

to the development of Teaism.

Our

home and

habits,

costume and
4

cuisine,

THE CUP OF HUMANITY


porcelain, lacquer, painting
literature

our very
its

all

have been subject to

influence.

No student of Japanese culits

ture could ever ignore

presence.

It

has permeated the elegance of noble


boudoirs,

and entered the abode of the

humble.

Our

peasants have learned to

arrange flowers, our meanest labourer


to off'er his salutation to the rocks

and

waters.

In our common parlance we

speak of the

man

''

with no tea

''

in him,

when he

is

insusceptible to the serio-

comic interests of the personal drama.

Again we

stigmatise the

untamed

aes-

thete who, regardless of the

mundane

tragedy, runs riot in the springtide of

emancipated emotions, as one " with too

much tea " in him. The outsider may indeed wonder at this seeming much ado about nothing.
[What a tempest in a tea-cup
5
1

he will

THE BOOK OF TEA


say.

But when we

consider

how

small

after all the cup of


is,

human enjoyment how soon overflowed with tears, how


drained to
the

easily

dregs

in

our
shall

quenchless thirst for infinity,

we

not blame

ourselves

for

making

so

much of
chus,

the tea-cup.

Mankind has

done worse.

In the worship of Bacwe have sacrificed too freely; and


transfigured the gory

we have even
image of Mars.

Why
warm

not consecrate

ourselves to the queen of the Camelias,

and

revel in the

stream of sym-

pathy that flows from her altar?


the liquid

In

amber within the ivory-porce-

lain, the initiated

may

touch the sweet

reticence of Confucius, the piquancy of

Laotse, and the ethereal aroma of Saky-

amuni himself.
Those who cannot
6
feel the littleness

of great things in themselves are apt to

THE CUP OF HUMANITY


overlook the greatness of
others.
little

things in
in his

The average Westerner,

sleek complacency, will see in the tea

ceremony but another instance of the


thousand and one oddities which constitute the quaintness

and

childishness

of the East to him.

He

was wont to

regard Japan as barbarous while she


indulged in the gentle arts of peace: he
calls

her civilised since she began to


'

commit wholesale slaughter on Manchurian battlefields.


-'^

Much comment

has

been given lately to the Code of the


Samurai,

the

Art of Death which

makes our
fice
;

soldiers exult in self-sacri-

but scarcely any attention has been


to Teaism, which represents so

drawn

much of our Art of Life. Fain would we remain barbarians, if our claim to
civilisation

were to be based on the grue-

some glory of war.


7

Fain would we

'

THE BOOK OF TEA


await the time when due respect shall

be paid to our art and

ideals.

When
try
to

will the

West

understand, or

understand,

the

East?

We
curi-

Asiatics are often appalled

by the

ous web of facts and fancies which has

been woven concerning

us.

We are pic-

tured as living on the perfume of the


lotus, if

not on mice and cockroaches.

It

is

either impotent fanaticism or else

abject voluptuousness.
ality

Indian spirituignorance,

has been

derided as

Chinese sobriety as stupidity, Japanese


patriotism as the result of fatalism. It

has been said that


to pain

we

are less sensible

and wounds on account of the

callousness of our nervous organisation!

Why not amuse yourselves at our expense?

Asia returns the compliment.

There would be further food for merri-

ment

if

you were

to

know

all

that

we


THE CUP OF HUMANITY
have imagined and written about you*
All the glamour of the perspective
there, all
is

the unconscious

homage of
have been

wonder,

all

the silent resentment of the

new and
envied,

undefined.

You

loaded with virtues too refined to be

and accused of crimes too

pic-

turesque to be condemned.
in the past

the wise

Our writers men who knew


tails

informed us that you had bushy

somewhere hidden in your garments,

and often dined off a


born babes!

fricassee of

new-

Nay, we had something


on the
what

worse against you: we used to think you


the

most

impracticaT^J^ people

earth, for

you were

said to preach

you never

practised.

Such misconceptions are fast vanishing amongst us. Commerce has forced
the

European tongues on many an


Asiatic youths are flock-

Eastern port.

THE BOOK OF
ment of modern

TE:A!

ing to Western colleges for the equipeducation.

Our

in-

sight does not penetrate your culture

deeply, but at least


learn.

we

are willing to

Some of my compatriots have adopted too much of your customs and too much of your etiquette, in the delusion that the acquisition of stiff collars

and

tall silk

hats comprised the attain-

ment of your civilisation. Pathetic and deplorable as such affectations are,


they evince our willingness to approach
the

West on our
Western

knees.

Unfortunately
is

the

attitude

unfavourable

to the understanding of the East.

The

Christian missionary

goes to

impart,

but not to receive.


is

Your

information

based on the meagre translations of


literature, if

our immense

not on the

unreliable anecdotes of passing travellers.

It

is

rarely that the chivalrous

10

THE CUP OF HUMANITY


pen of a Lafcadio Hearn or that of the
author of
''

The

Web

of Indian Life

"

enHvens the Oriental darkness with the


torch of our

own

sentiments.

Perhaps I betray

my own

ignorance

of the Tea Cult by being so outspoken.


Its very spirit of politeness exacts that

you say what you are expected to


and no more.
polite Teaist.

say,

But I am not to be a So much harm nas been

done already by the mutual misunderstanding of the

New World

and the

Old, that one need not apologise for


contributing his tithe to the furtherance

of a better understanding.

The

begin-

ning of the twentieth century would


have been spared the spectacle of sanRussia had condebetter.

guinary warfare
scended to

if

know Japan

What

dire consequences to himianity lie in

the contemptuous ignoring of Eastern


11

THE BOOK OF TEA


problems European imperialism, which
!

does not disdain to raise the absurd cry

of the Yellow Peril,

fails to realise that

Asia

may

also

awaken to the
Disaster.

cruel

sense of the

White

You may
much
tea,"

laugh at us for having " too


but

may we not suspect that you of the West have "no tea" in your consti-

tution?

Let us stop the continents from hurling epigrams at each other, and be
sadder
if

not wiser by the mutual gain

of half a hemisphere.

We have
lines,

develis

oped along different

but there

no reason why one should not supple-

ment

the other.

You

have gained ex-

pansion at the cost of restlessness; we

have created a harmony which


against aggression.
it?

is

weak
re-

Will you believe

the East

is

better oif in

some

spects than the

West!
12

THE CUP OF HUMANITY


Strangely enough humanity has so
far

met

in the tea-cup.

It

is

the only

Asiatic

ceremonial

which

conmaands

universal esteem.

The white man has

scoffed at our religion and our morals,

but has accepted the brown beverage

without hesitation.
is

The afternoon

tea

now an important
In the
and

function in Westdelicate clatter of

ern society.
trays

saucers, in the soft rustle of

feminine hospitality, in the


catechism

common about cream and sugar, we


estabphilo-

know
lished

that the

Worship of Tea is beyond question. The


him

sophic resignation of the guest to the


fate awaiting
in the dubious de-

coction proclaims that in this single

instance

the

Oriental

spirit

reigns

supreme.

The

earliest

record of tea in Enrols

THE BOOK OF TEA


pean writing
is

said to be

found

in the

statement of an Arabian traveller, that


after the year 879 the

main sources of
records the

revenue in Canton were the duties on


salt

and

tea,

Marco Polo

deposition

of a Chinese minister of

finance in 1285 for his arbitrary aug-

mentation of the tea-taxes.

It

was

at

the period of the great discoveries that

European people began to know more about the extreme Orient. At the
the

end of the sixteenth century the Hollanders brought the news that a pleas-

ant drink was

made

in the

East from

the leaves of a bush.

Giovanni Batista

The travellers Ramusio (1559), L*


MafFeno
(1588)',
tea.^

Almeida

(1576),

Tareira (1610),

also

mentioned

In the last-named year ships of the

Dutch East India Company brought


1

Paul Kransel, Dissertations, Berlin, 190^.

14

I
the
in

THE CUP OF HUMANITY


first

tea into Europe.

It

was known

France in 1636, and reached Russia

England welcomed it in 1650 and spoke of it as " That excellent and by all physicians approved China drink,
in 1638.^

called

by the Chineans Tcha, and by


all

other nations Tay, alias Tee/*

Like
the

the

good things of the world,

propaganda of Tea met with oppoHeretics


like

sition.

Henry
it

Saville

(1678) denounced drinking

as a filthy

custom.

Jonas

Hanway

(Essay

on
to

Tea, 1756) said that


lose their stature

men seemed

and comeliness, wo(about fifteen or


" regalia

men their beauty through the use of tea.


Its cost at the start

sixteen shillings a

pound) forbade pop-

ular consumption,

and made

it

for high treatments and entertainments,

presents being

made
16

thereof to princes

2Mercurius Politicus, 1656,

THE BOOK OF TEA


and grandees."

Yet

in spite of such

drawbacks tea-drinking
marvellous rapidity.

spread with
coffee-houses

The

of

London

in the

early half of the

eighteenth century became, in fact, teahouses, the resort of wits like

Addison

and

Steele,

who

beguiled

themselves

over their " dish of tea."

The beverage
life

soon became a necessary of


able matter.

a taxit

We

are reminded in this

connection what an important part


plays
in

modern

history.

Colonial

America resigned
until

herself to oppression

human endurance gave way before


Ameri-

the heavy duties laid on Tea.

can independence dates from the throwing of tea-chests into Boston harbour.

There

is

a subtle charm in the taste


it irresistible

of tea which makes

and

capable of idealisation.

Western hu-

mourists were not slow to mingle the

16

THE CUP OF HUMANITY


its

fragrance of their thought with

aroma.

It has not the arrogance of

wine, the self-consciousness of coif ee,

nor the simpering innocence of cocoa.

Already in 1711, says the Spectator:


"I

would therefore

in

a particular

manner recommend
set apart
tea,

these

my

specula-

tions to all well-regulated families that

an hour every morning for

bread and butter; and would ear-

nestly advise

them for

their

good to

order this paper to be punctually served

up and
draws

to be looked

of the tea-equipage."
his

upon as a part Samuel Johnson

own

portrait as " a hardened

and shameless

tea-drinker,
his

who

for

twenty years diluted

meals with only

the infusion of the fascinating plant;

who with

tea

amused

the evening, with

tea solaced the midnight,

and with tea

Bvelcomed the morning."

17

THE BOOK OF TEA


Charles

Lamb, a professed

devotee,

sounded the true note of Teaism when


he wrote that the greatest pleasure he

knew was
stealth,

to

do a good action

by-

and

to have

found
is

it

out by ac-

cident.

For Teaism

the art of conit,

cealing beauty that

you may discover

of suggesting what you dare not reveal.


It
is

the noble secret of laughing at

yourself, calmly yet


is

thoroughly, and

thus

humour

itself,

the

smile

of

philosophy.

All genuine humourists

may

in this sense be called tea-philoso-

phers,

Thackeray,
,

for instance, and,

of course, Shakespeare.
the Decadence
in decadence?)

The

poets of

(when was not the world


in their protests against

materialism, have, to a certain extent,


also

opened the way to Teaism.


it
is

Per-

haps nowadays

our demure con-

templation of the Imperfect that the


18

THE CUP OF HUMANITY


West and
The
the East can meet in mutual

consolation.

Taoists relate that at the great

beginning of the No-Beginning, Spirit

and Matter met


last the

in mortal combat.

At

Yellow Emperor, the Sun of


triumphed
over Shuhyung,
earth.

Heaven,
the

demon of darkness and

The
shiv-

Titan, in his death agony, struck his

head against the solar vault and


ered the blue

dome of jade
aimlessly

into frag-

ments.

The

stars lost their nests, the

moon wandered
the Yellow

among

the

wild chasms of the night.

In despair

Emperor sought far and


in vain.

wide for the repairer of the Heavens.

He

had not to search

Out of
dragonof

the Eastern sea rose a queen, the divine

Niuka,
tailed,
fire.

horn-crowned

and

resplendent in her armour

She welded the five-coloured


19

rain-

THE BOOK OF TEA


bow
in her

magic cauldron and

rebuilt

the Chinese sky.

But it is
fill

also told that

Niuka forgot

to

two tiny
souls

crevices

in the blue firmament.

Thus began

the

dualism of love

two

rolling

through space and never at rest until


they join together to complete the universe.

Everyone has to build anew

his

sky of hope and peace.

The heaven of modern humanity


is

indeed shattered in the Cyclopean

struggle for wealth and power.

The
is

world
tism

is

groping in the shadow of ego-

and vulgarity.

Knowledge

bought through a bad conscience,


nevolence practised for the
utility.

De-

sake of
like

The East and West,

two
life.

dragons tossed in a sea of ferment, in


vain strive to regain the jewel of

We

need a Niuka again to repair the


go

grand devastation; we await the great

THE CUP OF HUMANITY


Avatar. of
tea.

Meanwhile,

let

us have a sip
is

The afternoon glow

bright-

ening the bamboos, the fountains are


bubbling with delight, the soughing
of the pines
is

heard in our

kettle.

Let

us dream of evanescence, and linger in


the beautiful foolishness of things.

21

II

THE SCHOOLS OE TEA

II

THE SCHOOLS OF TEA

TEA a work of bringand needs a out nomaster hand


is

art

to

its

blest qualities.
tea, as

We have
latter.

good and bad


paintings
is

we have good and bad


There

generally the
gle recipe for
as there are

no

sintea,

making the perfect


rules for

no

producing a

Titian or a Sesson.

Each preparation
individuality, its

of the leaves has

its

special affinity with water

and

heat, its
its

hereditary memories to recall,

own
truly

method of
beautiful

telling a story.

The
in
it.

must be always

How

much do we not

suffer through the con-

stant failure of society to recognise this

simple and fundamental law of art and

25

THE BOOK OF TEA


life; Lichihlai,

Sung

poet, has sadly

remarked that there were three most deplorable things in the world: the spoil-

ing of fine youths through false education, the

degradation of fine paintings

through vulgar admiration, and the


utter waste of fine tea through incompe-

tent manipulation.

Like Art, Tea has


schools.

its

periods and

its

Its evolution

may

be roughly
stages:

divided

into

three

main

the

Boiled Tea, the

Whipped

Tea, and the

Steeped Tea.
the last school.

We

moderns belong to

These several methods


indi-

of appreciating the beverage are


cative of the spirit

of the age in which


life is

they prevailed.
sion,

For

an expres-

our unconscious actions the con-

stant betrayal of our innermost thought.

Confucius said that "

man

hideth not."

Perhaps we reveal ourselves too much


26

THE SCHOOLS OF TEA


we have so little conceal. The tiny inciroutine are as much a
or
poetry,

in small things because

of the great to
dents of daily

commentary of
est
flight

racial ideals as the high-

of philosophy
the

\Even

as

difference in

favourite

vintage
jcrasies

marks the separate idiosynof Europe, so the Tea-ideals

of diiferent periods and nation-

alities

characterise the various

moods of Ori

ental culture.
boiled,

The Cake-tea which was


Leaf-tea

the

Powdered-tea which was


the

whipped,
steeped,

which

was

mark

the distinct emotional im-

pulses of the

Tang, the Sung, and the


If we were
ter-

Ming

dynasties of China.

inclined to

borrow the much-abused


art-classification,

minology of

we might

designate them respectively, the Classic,


the

Romantic,

and the Naturalistic


27

schools of Tea.

THE BOOK OF TEA


The
China,
tea-plant, a native of southern

was known from very

early-

times to Chinese botany and medicine.


It
is

alluded to in the classics under the

various

names of Tou, Tseh, Chung,

Kha, and Ming, and was highly prized


for possessing the virtues of relieving
fatigue, delighting the soul, strength-

ening the
sight.

will,

and repairing the eye-

It

was not only administered

as

an internal dose, but often applied

externally in

form of paste

to alleviate

rheumatic pains.
it

The

Taoists claimed

as

an important ingredient of the


of immortality.
it

elixir

The Buddhists

used

extensively to prevent drowsi-

ness during their long hours of meditation.


*

By the fourth and fifth centuries Tea


inhabitants of the

became a favourite beverage among the

Yangtse-Kiang
8

val-

THE SCHOOLS OF TEA


ley.

It

was about

this

time that the


coined, evi-

modern ideograph Cha was

dently a corruption of the classic Tou.

The
have

poets of the southern dynasties


left

some fragments of

their ferv-

ent adoration of the "froth of the liquid


jade/'

Then emperors used

to bestow
leaves

some rare preparation of the


their high ministers as

on

a reward for
the

eminent

services.

Yet

method of
leaves were

drinking tea at this stage was primitive in the extreme.

The

steamed, crushed in a mortar,

made

into
rice,

a cake, and boiled together with


ginger,
salt,

orange

peel, spices, milk,

and sometimes with onions!

tom

obtains at the present

The cusday among

the Thibetans
tribes,

and various Mongolian

these
slices

who make a curious syrup of ingredients. The use of lemon by the Russians, who learned to

"

THE BOOK OF TEA


take tea from the Chinese caravansaries,
points to the survival of the ancient

method.
^

It needed the genius of the

Tang
its

dy-

nasty to emancipate Tea from


state
^

crude

and lead

to

its final idealisation.

With Luwuh in the middle of the eighth century we have our first apostle of tea. He was born in an age when Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism were

seeking mutual synthesis.


theistic

The pan-

symbolism of the time was urg-

ing one to mirror the Universal in the

Luwuh, a poet, saw in the Tea-service the same harmony and order
Particular.

which reigned through


his
^

all things-.

In

celebrated work, the

"

Chaking
has since

(The Holy Scripture of Tea) he formulated the

Code of Tea.

He

been worshipped as the tutelary god of | the Chinese tea merchants.


30

THE SCHOOLS OF TEA


The " Chaking " consists of three volumes and ten chapters. In the first
chapter

Luwuh

treats of the nature of

the tea-plant, in the second of the im-

plements for gathering the leaves, in


the third of the selection of the leaves.

According to him the best quality of


the leaves

must have "

creases like the

leathern boot of Tartar horsemen, curl


like the

dewlap of a mighty bullock,


of a ravine,
a lake touched by a zephyr,

unfold

like a mist rising out like

gleam

and be wet and soft like fine earth newly


swept by
rain.''
is

The fourth chapter


the enumeration

devoted to

and description of the

twenty-four members of the tea-equipage, beginning with the tripod brazier

and ending with the bamboo cabinet for


containing
notice
all

these utensils.

Here we

Luwuh's

predilection for Taoist

^-^

31

THE BOOK OF TEA


symbolism.

Also

it is

interesting to ob-

serve in this connection the influence of


tea

on Chinese ceramics.
as
is

The

Celestial
its

porcelain,

well known, had

origin in

an attempt to reproduce the

exquisite shade of jade, resulting, in the

Tang
south,

dynasty, in the blue glaze of the

and the white glaze of the north.


considered the blue as the ideal
it

Luwuh

colour for the tea-cup, as

lent addi-

tional greenness to the beverage, where-

as the white
distasteful.

made
It

it

look pinkish and

was because he used

cake-tea.
ters

Later on, when the tea mastea,

of Sung took to the powdered

they preferred heavy bowls of blueblack and dark brown.

The Mings,

with their steeped tea, rejoiced in light

ware of white porcelain.

In the
the

fifth chapter

Luwuh
tea.

describes
elimi-

method of making

He

THE SCHOOLS OF TEA


nates
all

ingredients except

salt.

He

dwells also on the much-discussed question of the choice of water

and the de-

gree of boiling

it.

According to him,
is

the mountain spring

the best, the river

water and the spring water come next


in the order of excellence.

There are
first boil is

three stages of boiling: the

when
fishes

the

little

bubbles like the eye of


the second
like crystal

boil

swim on the surface; is when the bubbles are


is

beads rolling in a fountain; the third


boil

when

the billows surge wildly in

the kettle.

The Cake-tea
is

is

roasted belike

fore the

fire until it

becomes soft

a baby's

arm and

shredded into powSalt

der between pieces of fine paper.


is

put in the

first boil,

the tea in the sec-

ond.

At

the third boil, a dipper ful of


is

cold water

poured into the kettle to

settle the tea

and revive the " youth of

THE BOOK OF TEA


the water."

Then

the beverage

was

poured into cups and drunk.

O nectar!

The
lilies

fihny leaflet

hung

like scaly clouds

in a serene sky or floated like water-

on emerald streams.
wrotq/z^'The

It was of

such a beverage that Lotung, a


poet,
first

Tang

cup moistens cup


find

my

lips

ana

throat,

the second cup

breaks

my loneliness, the third searches my barren entrail but to


some
five

therein

thousand volumes of
raises

odd ideographs.- The fourth cup


a slight perspiration,
life

all

the

wrong of

passes

away through

my pores. At

the fifth cup I

am

purified; the sixth

cup

calls

me

to the realms of immortals.

The seventh cup


take no more!

ah,

but

could

I only feel the breath


rises in
^

of cool wind that

my

sleeves.

Where

is

Horaisan?

Let me ride

iThe Chinese Elysium.

THE SCHOOLS OF TEA


on
this

sweet breeze and waft

away
''

thither/'

The remaining
king
'*

chapters of the

Cha-

treat of the vulgarity of the

ordinary methods of tea-drinking, a


historical

summary of

illustrious tea-

drinkers, the

famous tea plantations of


illustrations
last is

China, the possible variations of the teaservice


utensils.

and

of the tealost.

The

unfortunately

The
tion

appearance of the "

Chaking

"

must have created considerable sensaat

the

time.

Luwuh was
fame

be-

friended
\ (

by the Emperor Taisung


and
his

763-779 ) ,

attracted

many

followers.

Some

exquisites

were

said to have been able to detect the tea

made by Luwuh from that of his disciples. One mandarin has his name immortalised by his failure to appreciate
the tea of this great master.

THE BOOK OF TEA


In the Sung dynasty the whipped tea

came

into fashion

and created the

sec-

ond school of Tea.


ground to
mill,

The

leaves were

fine

powder

in a small stone

and the preparation was whipped

in hot water

by a

delicate

whisk made
process led

of
to

split

bamboo.

The new

some change

in the tea-equipage of

Luwuh,
Salt

as well as the choice of leaves.

was discarded forever. The enthu-

siasm of the

Sung people

for tea

knew
and

no bounds.

Epicures vied with each

other in discovering

new

varieties,

regular tournaments were held to decide


their superiority.

The Emperor Kiasung (1101-1124), who was too great


an
artist to

be a well-behaved monarch,

lavished his treasures

on the attainment
himself wrote a

of rare

species.

He

dissertation
tea,

on the twenty kinds of


which
36

among

he

prizes

the

THE SCHOOLS OF TEA


" white tea " as of the rarest
quality.

and

finest

The
from
life
ise

tea-ideal of the

Sungs differed

Tangs even as their notion of differed. They sought to actualthe


their predecessors tried to

what

sym-

bolise.

To

the

Neo-Confucian mind the

cosmic law was not reflected in the phe-

nomenal world, but the phenomenal


world was the cosmic law
itself.

iEons
always

were but moments


within grasp.
that

Nirvana
in

The Taoist conception


lay
all

immortality

the

eternal

change permeated
thought.
It

their

modes of
1

was the
not
vital.

process, not the

deed, which was interesting.


the

It

was
^

completing,

the

completion,

which was really

Man

came thus

at once face to face with nature.

A
life.

new meaning grew into the art of The tea began f-o be not a poetical
3T

pas-

THE BOOK OF TEA


time, but one of the
realisation.

methods of

self-

Wangyucheng
its

eulogised

tea as " flooding his soul like a direct

appeal, that

delicate bitterness re-

minded him of the


good counsel."

after-taste

of a
the

Sotumpa wrote of

strength of the immaculate purity in


tea which defied corruption as a truly

virtuous man.
the southern

Among

the Buddhists,

rated

so

Zen sect, which incorpomuch of Taoist doctrines,


tea.

formulated an elaborate ritual of

The monks gathered before


of Bodhi

the image
tea out of

Dharma and drank

a single bowl with the profound formality of

a holy sacrament.
which
finally

It

was

this

Zen

ritual

developed into
in the fif-

the Tea-ceremony of

Japan

teenth century.

Unfortunately the sudden outburst


of the Mongol tribes in the thirteenth
38

THE SCHOOLS OF TEA


century which resulted in the devastation

and conquest of China under the

'

barbaric rule of the

Yuen Emperors,

destroyed

all

The

native

Sung culture. dynasty of the Mings which


the fruits of

attempted re-nationalisation in the middle of the fifteenth century

was harassed

by
fell

internal troubles,

and China again


I

under the alien rule of the Manchus

in the seventeenth century.

Manners
no vestige
,

and customs changed


of the former times.
is

to leave

The powdered tea

entirely forgotten.

We find a
Tea

Ming
shape

commentator at
the

loss to recall the

of the tea whisk mentioned in one of

Sung

classics.

is

now taken
\

by steeping the
I

leaves in hot water

in a bowl or cup.

The reason why

the

Western world is innocent of the older method of drinking tea is explained by the fact that Europe knew
39

THE BOOK OF TEA


it

only

at

the

close

of

the

Ming
is

dynasty.
,

To the

latter-day Chinese tea

a de-

licious beverage,

but not an

ideal.

The

long woes of

his

country have robbed

him of the
life.

zest for the

meaning of

say,

He has become modern, that is to old and disenchanted. He has lost


youth and vigour

that sublime faith in illusions which constitutes the eternal

of the poets and ancients.


eclectic

He

is

an

and

politely accepts the tradi-

tions

of the universe.

He

toys with

Nature, but does not condescend to

conquer or worship her. His Leaf -tea


is

often wonderful with

its

flower-like

aroma, but the romance of the

Tang
to be

and Sung ceremonials are not found in his cup.


footsteps of Chinese

Japan, which followed closely on the


civilisation,

has

40

THE SCHOOLS OF TEA


known
the tea in all
its

three stages.

As
the

early as the year 729

we read of

Emperor Shomu giving tea to one hundred monks at his palace in Nara.
TJie leaves were probably imported

by

our ambassadors to the

Tang Court and


in fashion.

prepared in the

way then

In 801 the monk Saicho brought back


some seeds and planted them
in Yeisan.

Many

tea-gardens are heard of in the

succeeding centuries, as well as the delight of the aristocracy

and priesthood
tea reached

in the beverage.

The Sung

us in 1191 with the return of Yeisaizenji,

who went there to study the southThe new home were


seeds which
successfully

ern Zen school.

he

carried

planted in three places, one of which,


the the
the

Uji

district

near Kioto, bears

still

name of producing the best tea in world. The southern Zen spread
41

"*

THE BOOK OF TEA


witE marvellous rapidity, and with
it

the tea-ritual and the tea-ideal of the

Sung.

By the

fifteenth century,

under

the patronage of the Shogun, Ashik\

aga-Voshinasa, the tea ceremony


constituted

is

fully

and made

into

an independSince
in.

ent and secular performance.

j/"

then

Teaism

is

fully

established

->-Japan.

The
us,

use of the steeped tea of


is

the later China

comparatively recent

among

being only

known

since the

middle of the seventeenth century.

It

has replaced the powdered tea in ordi-

nary consumption, though the


still

latter

continues to hold

its

place as the tea

of

teas.

It
/

is

in the Japanese tea

ceremony

that

we see the culmination of tea-ideals. Our successful resistance of the Mongol


on the Sung movement so disastrously
42

invasion in 1281 had enabled us to carry

THE SCHOOLS OF TEA


cut off in China itself through the no^

Tea with us became more than an idealisation of the form


madic inroad.

of drinking;
of
life.

it is

a religion of the art*


to be

The beverage grew

an

excuse for the worship of purity and


refinement, a sacred function at which
the host

and guest joined

to produce

for that occasion the utmost beatitude

of the mundane.
oasis in the

The tea-room was

an.

dreary waste of existence

where weary travellers could meet to


drink from the
appreciation.

common

spring of art-

The ceremony was an improvised drama whose plot was woven


about the
ings.
tea, the flowers,

and the paint-

Not a

colour to disturb the tone

of the room, not a sound to mar the

rhythm of

things, not a gesture to ob-

trude on the harmony, not a word to

break the unity of the surroundings,


43

all

THE BOOK OF TEA


movements to be performed simply
and naturally
enough
tle

such

were

the

aims

of the tea-ceremony.
it

And

strangely

was often

successful.
it all.

A subTeaism

philosophy lay behind


in disguise.

was Taoism

Ill

.TAOISM

AND ZENNISM

Ill

TAOISM AND ZENNISM

THE
tea

connection of Zennism witH


is

proverbial.

We

have

al-

ready remarked that the tea-ceremony

was a development of ..the

Zm
is

The name of
Taoism,
is

I^aotsie,

the founder of

also

intimately associated
tea.

with the history of


the Chinese school

It

written in

manual concerning
and customs that

the origin of habits

the ceremony of offering tea to a guest

began with Kwanyin, a well-known


ciple

dis-

of Laotse, who

first

at the gate of

the

Han

Pass presented to the " Old


elixir.

Philosopher" a cup of the golden

We shall not stop to discuss the authenticity

of such

tales,

which are valuable,

47

THE BOOK OF TEA


however, as confirming the early use of
the beverage
terest in
^

by the

Taoists.

Our
life

inlies

Taoism and Zennism here

mainly in those ideas regarding


art which are so
call

and

embodied in what we

Teaism.
is

It

to be regretted that as yet there

appears to be no adequate presentation


of the Taoists and Zen doctrines in any
foreign language, though

we have had

several laudable attempts/

"*^

>^^^ ('^Translation is always a treason, and as a Ming author observes, can at its
best be only the reverse side of a brocade,

all

the threads are there, but not

the subtlety of colour or design.


after
all,

But,
there

what great doctrine

is

which

is

easy to expound?

The

ancient

iWe

should like to call attention to Dr. Paul


'Taotei King/
1898.

Carus's admirable translation of the

The Open Court Publishing Company, Chicago,

48

TAOISM AND ZENNISM


sages never put their teachings in sys-

tematic form.

They spoke

in para-

doxes, for they were afraid of uttering


half-truths.
like fools

They began by talking and ended by making their


Laotse himself, with his

hearers wise.

quaint humour, says, " If people of inferior intelligence hear of the

Tao, they

laugh immensely.

It

would not be the


It

Tao unless they laughed at it." The Tao literally means a Path.

has been severally translated as the

Way,

the Absolute, the

Supreme Reason, the

Law, Nature, Mode. These

renderings are not incorrect, for the use

of the term by the Taoists differs according to the subject-matter of the inquiry.

Laotse himself spoke of


is

it

thus:

" There
ing,

a thing which

is

all-contain-

which was born before the exist-

ence of

Heaven and Earth.


49

How

si-

THE BOOK OF TEA


lent!

How

solitary!

It stands alone

and changes
danger to
the universe.

not.

It revolves without

itself

and

is

the mother of

I do not
the

and

so call

it

know its name Path. With reluctInfinity


is

ance I

call it the Infinite.


is

the Fleeting, the Fleeting


ing, the Vanishing
is

the Vanish-

the Reverting."

The Tao
the Path.

is

in the

Passage rather than


the spirit of Cosmic
re-

It

is

Change,

the eternal growth which


new
upon
itself like

turns upon itself to produce


It recoils

forms.

the dragon,
It

the beloved symbol of the Taoists.


folds

and unfolds

as

do the clouds. The


as the
it is

Tao might be spoken of


Transition.

Great

Subjectively

the

Mood
is

of the Universe.
Relative.

Its Absolute

the

It should be

remembered
its

in the first

place that Taoism, like

legitimate

50

TAOISM AND ZENNISM


successor Zennism, represents the individualistic trend of the Southerij^Chi-^

nese

mind in contra-distinction to the communism of Northern China which expressed itself in Confucianism. ;The
Middle Kingdom
is^

'

'x9

as vast as

Europe

and has a
sies

differentiation of idiosyncra-

marked by

the

two great
it.

river sys-

tems which traverse

The Yangste-

Kiang and Hoang-Ho are respectively the Mediterranean and the Baltic. Even to-day, in spite of centuries of
unification, the

Southern Celestial dif-

fers in his thoughts


his

and

beliefs

from
In

Northern brother as a member of the

Latin race differs from the Teuton.


ancient days,

when communication was


than at present, and

even more
especially
I

difficult

during the feudal period,

this difference in

thought was most pro-

nounced.

The

art

and

poetry^ of the

61

THE BOOK OF TEA


one breathes an atmosphere entirely
distinct

from that of the


his followers

other.

In

Laotse and

and
find

in

Kutsu-

gen, the forerunner of the Yangtse-

Kiang

nature-poets,

we

an

ideal-

ism quite inconsistent with the prosaic


ethical notions of their contemporary-

northern writers.

Laotse lived

five

centuries before the Christian Era.

iThe

germ of Taoist

speculation may-

be found long before the advent of Laotse,

surnamed the Long-Eared.

The

archaic records of China, especially the

Book of Changes, foreshadow his thought. But the great respect paid
to the laws

and customs of that

classic

period of Chinese civilisation which cul-

minated with the establishment of the

Chow
B. c.^

dynasty in the sixteenth century

kept the development of individ62

ualism in check for a long while, so that

TAOISM AND ZENNISM


was not
until after the disintegration

^f

the

Chow dynasty and

the establish-

ment of innumerable independent kingdoms that it was able to blossom forth in the luxuriance of free-thought. Laotse

and Soshi (Chuangtse) were both

Southerners and the greatest exponents

of the

New

School.
his

On the

other

hand

Confucius with

numerous

disciples

aimed at retaining ancestral conventions.

Taoism cannot be understood

^without some knowledge of Confucian-

ism and vice versa.

We
lute

have said that the Taoist Abso-

'?

was the Relative.

In

ethics the

Taoist railed at the laws and the moral


codes of society, for to them right and

wrong were but


nition
is

relative terms.

always limitation ^the " unchangeless " are but terms exand
pressive of a stoppage of growth.

Defi" fixed "

Said

63


THE BOOK OF
Kuzugen,
world."
^'

TEAi

The

Sages

move

the

Our

standards of morality are

begotten of the past needs of society,

but

is

society to remain always the

same?

The observance of communal


dividual to the state.

traditions

involves a constant sacrifice of the in-

Education, in

order to keep

up

the mighty delusion,

encourages a species of ignorance. People are not taught to be really virtuous,

but to behave properly.


because
scious.

We are wicked
self-con-

we

are

frightfully

We

never forgive others bethat

cause

we know

we

ourselves are in

the wrong.

We nurse

a conscience be-

cause

we are afraid to tell the truth to others; we take refuge in pride because we are afraid to tell the truth to ourselves.

How

can one be serious with


itself
is

the
so

world when the world


ridiculous!

The
64

spirit

of barter

TAOISM AND ZENNISM


is

everywhere.

Honour and

Chastity!
retail-

Behold the complacent salesman


ing the
I

Good and True. One can even


which
is

buy a
I

so-called Heligion,

really

but

common

morality sanctified with

flowers

and music.

Rob

the Church of

her accessories and what remains be-

hind?

Yet the

trusts thrive marvel-

lously, for the prices are absurdly cheap,

prayer for a ticket to heaven, a

diploma for an honourable citizenship.

Hide yourself under a bushel


to the world

quickly,

for if your real usefulness were

known
public

you would soon be knocked

down to the highest bidder by the


auctioneer.

Why

do men and women

like to advertise themselves so

much?

Is

it

not but an instinct derived from

the days of slavery?

The
its

virility

of the idea

lies

not

less in

power of breaking through con55

THE BOOK OF TEA


temporary thought than in
its

capacity

for dominating subsequent movements.

Taoism was an
unification

active

power during the

Shin dynasty, that epoch of Chinese

from which we derive the

name China, It would be interesting had we time to note its influence on contemporary thinkers, the mathematicians,
writers

on law and war, the mystics


later nature-

and alchemists and the


poets

of

the

Yangste-Kiang.

We

should not even ignore those speculators

on Reality who doubted whether

a white horse was real because he was


white, or because he

was

solid,

nor the

Conversationalists of the Six dynasties

who,

like the

Zen

philosophers, revelled

in discussions concerning the

Pure and the Abstract. Above all we should pay homage to Taoism for what it has done
toward the formation of the
56
Celestial

TAOISM AND ZENNISM


character, giving to
it

a certain capacity
''

for reserve and refinement as


jade."

warm

as

Chinese history

is

full of in-

stances in which the votaries of Taoism,

princes

and hermits

alike,

followed

with varied and interesting results the


teachings of their creed.

The

tale will

not be without

its

quota of instruction
It will be rich in

and amusement.
anecdotes,

allegories,

and aphorisms.

We

would fain be on speaking terms

with the delightful emperor


died because he never lived.
ride the

who never

We

may
it

wind with Liehtse and find

absolutely quiet because

we

ourselves

are the wind, or dwell in mid-air with

the

Aged One

of the Hoang-Ho,

who
be-

lived betwixt

Heaven and Earth

cause he was subject to neither the one

nor the other.

Even
57

in that grotesque

apology for Taoism which we find in

THE BOOK OF TEA


China at the present day, we can revel
in a wealth of

imagery impossible to
cult.

find in
>

any other

But

the chief contribution of

Taoism

to Asiatic life has been in the realm of

\^ aesthetics. Chinese historians have always spoken of Taoism as the '' art-o^
I

being in the world," for


the present

it

deals with
in us that

ourselves.

It

is

God
parts
the

meets with Nature, and yesterday

from to-morrow.
Infinity,

The Present
the

is

moving

legitimate

sphere of the Relative.

Relativity seeks
is

Adjustment; Adjustment

Art.

The
ac-

art of life lies in a constant readjust-

ment
the

to our surroundings.

Taoism

cepts the

mundane

as

it is

and, unlike

Confucians

and the

Buddhists,

tries to find

beauty in our world of woe

and worry.

The Sung
68

allegory of the

Three Vinegar Tasters explains ad-

TAOISM AND ZENNISM


mirably the trend of the three doctrines.

Sakyamuni,

Confucius,

and

Laotse

once stood before a jar of vinegar

^the

emblem of

life

and each dipped


it
it

in his

finger to taste the brew.

The mattersour, the

of-fact Confucius found

Buddha
nounced

called
it

bitter,

and Laotse pro-

sweet.

The
of
if
life

Taoists claimed that the

comedy

could be

made more

interesting

everyone would preserve the unities.


the proportion of things

To keep
own

and

give place to others without losing one's


position

was the

secret

of success

in the

mundane drama.

We must know

the whole play in order to properly act

our parts; the conception of totality

must never be
ual.

lost in that

of the individ-

This Laotse illustrates by his

favourite

metaphor of the Vacuum.

He

claimed that only in


69

vacuum

lay

THE BOOK OF TEA


the truly essential.

The

reality of a

room, for instance, was to be found in


the vacant space enclosed

by

the roof

and

walls, not in the roof

and walls

themselves.

The

usefulness of a water

pitcher dwelt in the emptiness where

water might be put, not in the form of


the pitcher or the material of which
it

was made.
cause
all

Vacuum

is

all

potent be-

containing.

In vacuum alone

motion becomes
could

possible.

One who
vacuum
into

make of

himself a

which others might freely enter would

become master of

all situations.

The
in-

whole can always dominate the part.

These Taoists' ideas have greatly


fluenced
all

our theories of action, even

to those of fencing
jitsu, the

and wrestling. JiuTao-

Japanese art of self-defence,


to a passage in the

owes

its

name
In

teiking.

jiu-jitsu one seeks to

draw

60

TAOISM AND ZENNISM


out and exhaust the enemy's strength

by

non-resistance,

vacuum, while constrength for victory

serving one's

own

in the final struggle.

In

art the imis illus-

portance of the same principle


trated

by the value of suggestion.

In

leaving something unsaid the beholder


is

given a chance to complete the idea


irresisti-

and thus a great masterpiece


to

bly rivets your attention until you seem

become actually a part of


is

it.

A vacand
fill

uum
up

there for

you

to enter

to the full

measure of your aesthetic

emotion.

He who
the Taoist.

had made himself master of

the art of living

was the

Ileal

Man

of

At birth he enters the realm


tempers
his

of dreams only to awaken to reality at


death.

He

own
is

brightness

in order to

merge himself

into the ob-

scurity of others.

He
61

"reluctant,

THE BOOK OF TEA


as one

who

crosses a stream in winter;

hesitating as one

who

fears the neighlike


is

bourhood;

respectful,

guest r

trembling, like ice that

about to melt

unassuming,

like

a piece of wood not

yet carved; vacant, like a valley; formless, like

troubled waters."

To him

the

three jewels of life were Pity,

Econ-

omy, and Modesty.

now we turn our attention to Zennism we shall find that it emphaIf


sises

the teachings of Taoism.

name

derived from the

Zen is Sanscrit word


It

Dhyana, which
tation

signifies meditation.

claims that through consecrated medi-^

may

be attained supreme self-

realisation.

Meditation

is

one of the

six

ways through which Buddhahood


be reached, and the Zen sectarians

may
on

affirm that
this

Sakyamuni laid special


62

stress

method

in his later teachings,

TAOISM AND ZENNISM


handing down the rules to
ciple Kashiapa.
his chief dis-

According to

their tra-

dition Kashiapa, the first

imparted the secret to


turn passed
until
it
it

Zen patriarch, Ananda, who in


the

on to successive patriarchs

reached Bodhi-Dharma,

twenty-eighth.

Bodhi-Dharma came
first
is ofl

to Northern China in the early half of

the

sixth

century and was the

patriarch of Chinese Zen.

There

much
its

uncertainty about the history

these patriarchs

and

their doctrines.

In

philosophical aspect early


affinity

Zennism

seems to have
j

on one hand to

the Indian Negativism of

Nagarjuna

and on the other

to the

Gnan

phil-

osophy formulated by Sancharacharya.

The

first

teaching of

Zen

as

we know

it

at the present

day must be attributed

to the sixth

Chinese patriarch

Yeno

;(637-713), founder of Southern Zen,

63

THE BOOK OF
so-called

TEA'
its

from the

fact of

predomi-

nance in Southern China.

He is closely

followed by the great Baso (died 788)

who made of Zen a


Celestial life.

living influence in

Hiakujo (719-814) the pupil of Baso, first instituted the Zen


monastery and established a ritual and
regulations for
its

government.

In the

discussions of the

Zen

school after the

time of Baso

we find the play of the Yangtse-Kiang mind causing an accesmodes of thought


in con-

sion of native
trast to

the former Indian idealism.


sectarian pride

Whatever

may

assert to

the contrary one cannot help being im-

pressed by the similarity of Southern

Zen

to the teachings of Laotse

and the

Taoist Conversationalists.
teiking

In the Tao-

we

already find allusions to the

importance of self -concentration and


the need of properly regulating the

64

T AOISM AND ZENNISM


breath

essential points in the practice

of Zen meditation.

Some of the best commentaries on the Book of Laotse have been written by Zen scholars.
Zennism,
like

Taoism,

is

the worship
defines

of Relativity.

One master

Zen

as the art of feeling the polar star in

the southern sky.

Truth can be reached


Taoism,

only through the comprehension of opposites.


is

Again, Zennism,

like

a strong advocate of individualism.


is

Nothing

real except that

which con-

cerns the working of our

own

minds.

Yeno, the sixth patriarch, once saw two

monks watching
is

the flag of a

pagoda

fluttering in the wind.

One
;

said " It

the
is

wind that moves," the other said


the flag that

" It

moves " but Yeno

explained to them that the real move-

ment was neither of the wind nor the


flag,

but of something within their


65

own

"

THE BOOK OF TEA


minds.

Hiakujo was walking


"

in the

forest with a disciple

when a hare

scur-

ried off at their approach.

Why does

the hare fly

from you?'* asked Hiais

kujo.

" Because he

afraid of me,"
said the master,

was the answer. " No/'


"
it is

because you have a murderous

instinct."

This dialogue recalls that

of Soshi (Chauntse), the Taoist.


"

One

day Soshi was walking on the bank of


a river with a friend.

How

delight-

fully the fishes are enjoying themselves


in the

water!" exclaimed Soshi.

His
are

friend spake to

him thus:

"You

not a

fish;

how do you know

that the

fishes are

enjoying themselves? " "

are not myself," returned Soshi;

You "how

do you know that I do hot know that


the fishes are enjoying themselves?

Zen was often opposed to the precepts of orthodox Buddhism even as


66

TAOISM AND ZENNISM


Taoism was opposed
to Confucianism.

To

the transcendental insight of the

ZeUy words were but an incumbrance to


thought; the whole sway of Buddhist
scriptures only conmientaries

on per-

The followers of Zen aimed at direct communion with the


sonal speculation.

inner nature of things, regarding their

outward accessories only as impediments to a


It
clear perception of Truth.

n
^/r-j
)

was

this love

of the Abstract that led

the

Zen

to

pixfer, black

and white
coloured

^/^.^

sketches

to

the

elaborately

^'

paintings of the classic Buddhist School^

Some of
clastic as

the

Zen even became

^(D

icono-

a result of their endeavour to


the

recognise

Buddha
find

in

themselves

rather than through images


bolism.

and sym-

We

Tankawosho breakstatue of

ing
Ion
I

up a wooden
a wintry

Buddha
fire.

day to make a
67

THE BOOK OF TEA


"What
sacrilege!"
said
*'

the

horror-

stricken bystander.

I wish to get

the Shali^ out of the ashes," calmly

But you certainly will not get Shall from this image!" was the angry retort, to which Tanka
rejoined the Zen.
replied,

"

" If

do not,

this

is

cer-

Buddha and I am committing no sacrilege." Then he turned


tainly not a

to

warm

himself over the kindling


contribution
its

fire.

A
the

special

of Zen to

Eastern thought was

recognition of

mundane

as of equal importance

with the spiritual.

It held that in the

great relation of things there was no


distinction of small

and

great,

an atom

possessing equal possibilities with the


universe.

The

seeker for perfection

must discover
2

in his

own
in

life the rethe


bodies

The precious jewels formed

of

Buddhas after cremation.

68

TAOISM AND ZENNISM


flection

of the inner light.

The

organi-

sation of the

Zen monastery was very

significant of this point of view.

To

every member, except the abbot, was


assigned some special

taking of the

work in the caremonastery, and curiously

enough, to the novices were committed


the lighter duties, while to the most re-

spected and advanced


the

monks were given

more irksome and menial tasks. Such services formed a part of the Zen
and every
least action

discipline

must

be

done absolutely perfectly.

Thus

many a weighty
or serving tea.

discussion ensued while

weeding the garden, paring a turnip,


ism
a result

is

The whole ideal of Teaof this Zen conception


basis for

of greatness in the smallest incidents of


life.

Taoism furnished the


ideals,

aesthetic
practical.

Zennism made them

^69

iv;

THE TEA-ROOM

THE TEA-ROOM

TOup

European
on the

architects

brought
of stone

traditions

and brick construction, our Japanese

method of building with wood and bamboo seems scarcely worthy to be ranked
as architecture.

It

is

but quite recently

that a competent student of


architecture

Western has recognised and paid


Such being the case

tribute to the remarkable perfection of

our great temples/

as regards our classic architecture,

we

could hardly expect the outsider to appreciate the subtle beauty of the tea-

room,
1

its

principles of construction

and
The

We
&

refer to

Ralph N. Cram's Impressions of

Japanese Architecture and the Allied Arts.

Baker

Taylor Co.,

New

York, 1905.

73

THE BOOK OF TEA


decoration being entirely different from
those of the West.
V

iThe tea-room (the Sukiya) does not

pretend to be other than a mere cottage

a straw hut, as we
inal

The origideographs for Sukiya mean the


call
it.

*Abode of Fancy.

Latterly the various

tea-masters substituted various Chinese


characters according to their conception

of the tea-room, and the term Sukiya

may
V

signify the

Abode of Vacancy

or

the
is
is

Abode of the Unsymmetrical. It an Abode of Fancy inasmuch as it


built to house

an ephemeral structure
It
as
is it

a poetic impulse.

an Abode of
is

Vacancy inasmuch
placed in

devoid of

xornamentation except for what


it

may

be

to satisfy It

some
is

aesthetic

n^ed of the moment.

an Abode of
it

the Unsymmetrical inasmuch as

is

^consecrated to the worship of the

Xpir.

74

THE TEA-ROOM
perfect, purposely leaving

some thing
of Teaism
influ*

unfinished for the play of the imagination to complete.

The

ideals

have since the sixteenth century

enced our architecture to such degree


that the ordinary Japanese interior of

the present day,

on account of the exits

treme simplicity and chasteness of

scheme of decoration, appears to foreigners almost barren.

The
the

first

independent tea-room was


of

creation

Senno-Soyeki,
his later

com-

monly known by
kiu,

name of Ri- /^
tea-masters,

the

greatest

of

all

who, in the sixteenth century, under


the patronage of Taiko-Hideyoshi, instituted

and brought

to a high state of

perfection the formalities of the Tea-

ceremony.

The proportions of

the tea-

room had been previously determined by Jowo a famous tea-master of the

75

THE BOOK OF TEA


fifteenth century.

The

early tea-room

consisted merely of a portion of the

ordinary drawing-room partitioned off

by
off

screens for the purpose of the tea-

gathering.

The portion
appKed

partitioned

was

called the
still

Kakoi (enclosure),
to those tea-rooms

a name

which are built into a house and are not


independent constructions.

The Su-

,kiya consists of the tea-room proper,

designed to accommodate not more than


five persons,

the saying "


less

number suggestive of more than the Graces and


a

than the Muses,"

an anteroom
before

l(midsuya) where the tea utensils are

washed
brought
..the

and
in,

arranged

being

a portico (machiai) in which

guests wait until they receive the


to enter the tea-room,
roji)

summons
,>

and a

garden path (the

which connects

the machiai with the tea-room.

The

76

THE TEA-ROOM
tea-room
It
is
is

unimpressive in appearance.

smaller than the smallest of Jap-

anese houses, while the materials used


in its construction are intended to give

the suggestion of refined poverty.

Yet
is

we must remember
result of

that all this

the

profound

artistic

forethought,

and that the

details

have been worked

out with care perhaps even greater than


that expended on the building of the
richest palaces

and temples.
costly than

A
an

good
ordiits

tea-room

is

more

nary mansion, for the selection of


materials, as well as its

workmanship,
precision.

requires

immense care and

Indeed, the carpenters employed by the


tea-masters

form a

distinct

and highly
their

honoured

class

among

artisans,

work being no

less delicate

than that

of the makers of lacquer cabinets.

The tea-room

is

not only different

77,

THE BOOK OF TEA


from any production of Western
tecture,

archi-

but also contrasts strongly with

the classical architecture of


self.

Japan

it-

Our

ancient

noble

edifices,

.whether secular or ecclesiastical, were

not to be despised even as regards their

mere

size.

The few
still

that have been

spared in the disastrous conflagrations of centuries are


capable of aweing

us by the grandeur and richness of their


decoration.

Huge pillars of wood from


and from

two

to three feet in diameter

thirty to forty feet high, supported,

by

a complicated network of brackets, the

enormous beams which groaned under


the weight of the tile-covered slanting
roofs.

The

material and

mode of

confire,

struction,

though weak against


strong
against

proved

itself

earthcli-

quakes, and was well suited to the

matic conditions of the country.


78

In the

THE TEA-ROOM
Golden Hall of Horiuji and the Pagoda
of Yakushiji,

we have noteworthy
These
buildings

ex-

amples of the durability of our wooden


architecture.

have
nearly

practically

stood

intact

for

twelve centuries.
old temples

The

interior

of the

and palaces was profusely


In the Ho5do temple at

decorated.

Uji, dating from the tenth century,

we

can

still

see the elaborate

canopy and

gilded baldachinos, many-coloured and


inlaid with mirrors

and mother-of-pearl,
and
the

as well as remains of the paintings

sculpture which formerly covered the


walls.

Later,

at

Nikko and

in

NijQ^jQastle^inJKyot^

we

see structural

beauty sacrificed to a wealth of ornamentation which in colour and exquisite


detail equals the

utmost gorgeousness

of Arabian or Moorish effort.

The

simplicity

and purism of the


79

tea-

THE BOOK OF TEA


room resulted from emulation of the Zen monastery. A Zon monastery differs from those of other Buddhist sects inasmuch as it is meant only to be a
dwelling place
chapel
is

for

the

monks.

Its
pil-

not a place of worship or

grimage, (but a college room where the


students congregate for discussion and
the practice of meditation.
is

The room
a statue of

bare except for a central alcove in


is

which, behind the altar,

Bodhi Dhama, the founder of the sect, or


of Sakyamuni attended by Ka|)hiapa

and Ananda, the two


archs.

earliest

Zen

patri-

On the altar, flowers and incense


up
in

are offered

memory of

the great

contributions which these sages


to Zen.

made
it

We

have already said that

was the
4)

ritual instituted

by the Zen

monks of

successively drinking tea*out

of a bowl before the image of Bodhi


80

THE TEA-ROOM
Dhama, which
laid the foundations

of

the tea-ceremony.

We might

add Here

that the altar of the

Zen chapel was the

prototype of the Tokonojaia,

the place

of honour in a Japanese room where


paintings and flowers are placed for the
edification of the guests.

All our great tea-masters were students of Zen and attempted to introduce
the spirit of Zennism into the actualities

of

life.

Thus the room,

like the

other equipments of the tea-ceremony,


reflects
size

many of the Zen

doctrines.

The
is

of the orthodox tea-room, which

four mats and a half, or ten feet square,


is

determined by a passage in the Sutra

of Vikramadytja.

In that

interesting

work, Vikramadytia welcomes the Saint

Manjushiri and eighty-four thousand


disciples
size,

of Buddha in a room of

this

an allegory based on the


81

theorj^

THE BOOK OF
truly
enlightened.

TBJi

1
roii,

of tKe non-existence of space to the


!Again
the

the garden path which leads

from the
passage

machiai to the tea-room, signified the


first

stage of meditation,
self-illumination.

^the

into

The

^oji

was

intended to break connection with the


outside world,

and

to produce a fresh

sensation conducive to the full enjoy-

ment of
self.

aestheticism in the tea-room

it-

Dne who

has trodden this garden

path cannot
spirit, as

fail to

remember how

his

he walked in the twilight of

evergreens over the regular irregularities

of the stepping stones, beneath

which lay dried pine needles, and passed


beside the moss-covered granite lanterns,

became uplifted above ordinary

thoughts.

One may be
away from
82

in the midst of

city,

and yet

feel as if

he were in the

forest far

the dust and din

THE TEA-ROOM
of
civilisation.

Great was tHe ingenuity:

displayed by the tea-masters in produc-

ing these effects of serenity and purity.


iThe nature of the
sensations to be

aroused in passing through the roji


differed

with

different

tea-masters.
loneli-

Some,
ness,

like Rikiu,

aimed at utter

and claimed the

secret of

mak-

ing a roji was contained in the ancient


ditty:

"I

look beyond;

Flowers are not.

Nor

tinted leaves.

On

the sea beach

A solitary cottage
Of

stands

In the waning light


an autumn eve."

Others, like Kobori-Enshiu, sought

for a different effect.


idea of the garden path

Enshiu said the

was to be found

in the following verses:

THE BOOK OF
'*A cluster of summer

TEA]
trees,

A bit of the sea, A pale evening moon."


It
is

not

difficult to

gather his meaning.

H[e wished to create the attitude of a

n^ly awakened

soul

still

lingering
past, yet

amid shadowy dreams of the


a mellow spiritual
light,

bathing in the sweet unconsciousness of

and yearning

for the freedom that lay in the expanse

beyond.

Thus prepared tHe guest

will silently
if

approach the sanctuary, and,

a sa-

murai, will leave his sword on the rack

beneath the eaves, the tea-room being

Then he will bend low and creep into the room through a smaU door not more than
preeminently the house of peace.
three feet in height.

This proceeding

was incumbent on
low
alike^

all guests,

^high

and

and was intended to


84

incul-

THE TEA-ROOM
cate humility.

The order of precedence having been mutually agreed upon


while resting in the machiai, the guests

one by one

will enter noiselessly


first

and

take their seats,


to the picture or

making obeisance flower arrangement on

ithe tokonoma.
'xhe room until

The
all

host will not enter

the guests have seated

themselves and quiet reigns with noth-

ing to break the silence save the note of the boiling water in the iron
kettle.

(The kettle sings well, for pieces of iron

are so arranged in the bottom as to pro-

duce a peculiar melody in which one

may
fled

hear the echoes of a cataract muf-

by

clouds, of a distant sea break-

ing

among the rocks,

a rainstorm sweep-

IKng

through a bamboo forest, or of the


hill.

soughing of pines on some faraway

Even in the daytime the light in the room is subdued, for the low eaves of
85

THE BOOK OF TEA


the slanting roof admit but few of the
sun's rays.

Everything

is

sober in tint

from the ceiHng

to the floor; the guests

themselves have carefully chosen gar-

ments of unobtrusive
mellowness of age
is

colours.

The
every-

over

all,

thing suggestive of recent acquirement

being tabooed save only the one note

of contrast furnished by the bamboo


dipper and the linen napkin, both immaculately white and new.

However
absolutely

faded the tea-room and the tea-equipage

may

seem, everything

is

clean.

Not

a particle of dust will be


if

found in the darkest corner, for


exists the host
is

any

not a tea-master.

One

of the
is

first requisites

of a tea-master

the knowledge

of

how
is

to sweep,

clean,

and wash, for there

an art

in

cleaning and dusting.


tique metal

A piece

of an-

work must not be attacked


86

THE TEA-ROOM

with the unscrupulous zeal of the DutcK

housewife.

Dripping water from a


suggestive

flower vase need not be wiped away, for


it

may
In
this

be

of

dew and
a story of

coolness.

connection there

is

Rikiu which well

illustrates the ideas

of

cleanliness entertained
ters.

by the tea-mashis

Rikiu was watching

son Shoan

as he swept

and watered the garden


clean enough," said Rikiu,

path. "

Not

when Shoan had finished his task, and bade him try again. After a weary
hour the son turned to Rikiu " Father,
:

there

is

nothing more to be done.

The
trees

steps have been

washed for the third

time, the stone lanterns

and the

are well sprinkled with water, moss

and

lichens are shining with a fresh verdure

not a twig, not a leaf have I left on the

ground."

"

Young
87

fool," chided the

THE BOOK OF TEA


tea-master, " that
is

not the

way a

gar-

den path should be swept/*


this,

Saying

Rikiu stepped into the garden,

shook a tree and scattered over the gar-

den gold and crimson

leaves, scraps

of

the brocade of autumn!

What

Rikiu
alone,
also.

demanded was not

cleanliness

but the beautiful and the natural

The name, Abode of Fancy,


a structure created to
iipueet

implies
indi-

some

vidual artisti c requirement.

The

tea-

room

is

made

for the tea-master, not


It
is

the tea-master for the tea-room.

not intended for posterity and


fore ephemeral.

is

there-

The

idea that everyhis

one should have a house of

own

is j

based on an ancient custom of the Japanese race, Shinto superstition ordain-

ing that every dwelling should be evacuated on the death of


its

chief occupant.

Perhaps there

may

have been some un-

88

THE TEA-ROOM
realised sanitary reason for this practice.

Another early custom was that a newly


built

house should be provided for each


It
is

couple that married.

on account

of such customs that

we

find the

Im-

perial capitals so frequently

removed

from one

site to

another in ancient days.

The

rebuilding, every twenty years, of

Ise Temple, the supreme shrine of the

Sun-Goddess,

is

an example of one of
still

these ancient rites which


the present day.
these customs

obtain at

The observance of
possible with

was only

some such form of construction as that


furnished by our system of wooden
architecture, easily pulled
built up.

down,

easily

A more lasting style, employ-

ing brick and stone, would have rendered migrations impracticable, as in-

deed they became when the more stable

and massive wooden construction of


89

THE BOOK OF
period.

TEA!
ISTara

China was adopted by us after the

With

i
the predominance of

Zen

in-

dividualism in the fifteenth century,

however, the old idea became imbued

with a deeper significance as conceived


in connection with the tea-room.

Zenn-

ism, with the Buddhist theory of evan-

escence and

its

demands for the mastery

of

spirit

over matter, recognised the

house only as a temporary refuge for


the body.

The body

itself

was but as

a hut in the wilderness, a flimsy shelter

made by tying
grew around,

together the grasses that


to be
re-

when these ceased


is

bound together they again became


solved into the original waste.

In the

tea-room fugitiveness

suggested in

the thatched roof, frailty in the slender


pillars, lightness in the

bamboo support,

apparent carelessness in the use of com90

THE TEA-ROOM
monplace materials.
be found only in the

The

eternal

is

to

spirit which,

em-

bodied in these simple surroundings,


beautifies
its

them with the

subtle light

of!

refinement.

That the tea-room should be


suit

built to

some individual

taste

is

an enforce-

ment of

the principle of vitality in art.

Art, to be fully appreciated, must be


true to contemporaneous
that
life.

It

is

not

we should ignore the claims of posterity, but that we should seek to enjoy the present more. It is not that we
should disregard the creations of the
past, but that
late

we should
to

try to assimiSla-

them

into our consciousness.


traditions

vish

conformity

and

formulas fetters the expression of individuality in architecture.

We

can but

weep over those senseless imitations of European buildings which one beholds
91

THE BOOK OF
in

TEA'
marvel why,

modern Japan.

We

among

the most progressive

Western

nations, architecture should be so de-

void of originality, so replete with repetitions

of obsolete

styles.

Perhaps we
of demthe

are

now passing through an age

ocratisation in art, while awaiting


rise

of some princely master who shall

establish a

new

dynasty.

Would

that

we
p
^

loved the ancients more and copied


less!

them

It has been said that the

Greeks were great because they never

drew from the

antique.

'

The term. Abode

of Vacancy, besides
all-

conveying the Taoist theory of the

containing, involves the conception of a

continued need of change in decorative


motives.
^

The tea-room

is

absolutely

empty, except for what

may

be placed

there temporarily to satisfy some aesthetic

mood.

Some

special art object

is

93

THE TEA-ROOM
brought in for the occasion, and everything else
is
^

selected

and arranged to
principal
listen to different

enhance the beauty of the


theme.

One cannot

pieces of music at the

same time, a

real

comprehension of the beautiful being


possible

only

through

concentration

upon some

central motive.

Thus

it

will

be seen that the system of decoration


in our tea-rooms
is

opposed to that

which obtains in the West, where the


interior of a house
is

often converted

into a

museum.

To

a Japanese, accus-

tomed
and

to simplicity of ornamentation

frequent

change

of

decorative

method, a Western interior


nently
filled

perma-

with a vast array of pic-

tures, statuary,

and

bric-a-brac gives

the impression of mere vulgar display

of riches.

It calls for a

mighty wealth

of appreciation to enjoy the constant


93

THE BOOK OF TEA


sight of even a masterpiece,
less

and

limit-

indeed must be the capacity for arfeeling in those

tistic

who can
is

exist

day after day

in the midst of such conto be

fusion of colour and form as

often seen in the homes of Europe and

America.

The "Abode of
cal
"'

the Unsymmetri-

suggests another phase of our dec-

orative scheme.

The absence of symcritics.

metry in Japanese art objects has been


often commented on by Western
This, also,
is

a result of a working out


ideals.

through Zennism of Taoist


fucianism, with
its

Con-

deep-seated idea of

dualism, and Northern


its

Buddhism with
were in no way

worship of a

trinity,

opposed to the expression of symmetry.

As a

matter of fact,

if

we study

the

ancient bronzes of China or the religious arts of the

Tang dynasty and


94

the

THE TEA-ROOM
Nara
stant
period,

we

shall recognise a con-

striving

after

syiBmetry.

The

decoration of our classical interiors was

decidedly regular in

its

arrangement.
per-

The Taoist and Zen conception of


fection, however,

was

different.

The

dynamic nature of

their philosophy laid

upon the process through which perfection was sought than upon perfection itself. True beauty could
more
stress

be discovered only by one who mentally

completed the incomplete.

The

virility

^bf life and art lay in its possibilities


growth.

for

In the tea-room

it is left

for

leach guest in imagination to

complete

the total effect in relation to himself.

Since Zennism has become the prevail-

ing mode of thought, the art of the ex-

treme Orient has purposely avoided the


symmetrical as expressing
completion, but repetition.
95

not only

Uniformity

THE BOOK OF TEA


of design was considered as fatal to the
(i

y
^r

freshness of imagination.
scapes, birds,

Thus, land-

^
\
^

and flowers became the


the latter being

\^
^^

favourite subjects for depiction rather

\^ than the human figure,


\
himself.

present in the person of the beholder

We
it

are often too


is,

much

in

evidence as

and

in spite of our
is

vanity even self-regard

apt to be-

come monotonous.
%

In the tea-room the fear of


a constant presence.

repetition

jis

The

various ob-

jects

for the decoration of a room

should be so selected that no colour or


design shall be repeated.

If you have
is

a living flower, a painting of flowers

not allowable. If you are using a round


kettle,

the

water pitcher

should

be

angular,

cup with a black glaze


associated with

should not be

a tea-

caddy of black lacquer.


96

In placing a

I
it

THE TEA-ROOM

vase on an incense burner on the toko-

noma, care should be taken not to put


in the exact centre, lest
it

divide the
pillar

space into equal halves.


the

The

of

tokonoma should be of a different


pillars,

kind of wood from the other


in order to break

any suggestion of
method of

monotony

in the room.

Here again

the Japanese

interior decoration differs

from that of

the Occident, where

we

see objects ar-

rayed symmetrically on mantelpieces

and elsewhere.

In Western houses we
what appears

are often confronted with


to us useless reiteration.

We

find

it

trying to talk to a

man

while his full-

length portrait stares at us from behind


is

back.

We

wonder which

is real,

he

^^m^-

^f the picture or he who


must be fraud.

talks,

and

feel

a curious conviction that one of them

Many
97

a time have

we

THE BOOK OF TEA


sat at a festive board contemplating,

witH a secret shock to our digestion,


the representation of abundance on the

dining-room walls.

Why

these

pic-

tured victims of chase and sport, the


elaborate carvings of fishes

and

fruit?

Why

the display of family plates, re-

minding us of those who have dined and


are dead?

The
its

simplicity of the tea-room

and
it

freedom from vulgarity make

truly a sanctuary

from

the vexations of

the outer world.

There and there alone

can one consecrate himself to undisturbed adoration of the beautiful.

In

the sixteenth century the tea-room af-

forded a welcome respite from labour


to the fierce warriors

and statesmen

engaged in the

unification

and recon-

struction of Japan.

In the seventeenth

century, after the strict formalism of

98

THE TEA-ROOM
the
it

Tokugawa
free

rule

had been developed,

offered the only opportunity possible

for the
spirits.

communiou of artistic Before a great work of art


distinction

there

was no

between dai-

myo, samurai, and commoner.


days industrialism
is

Noware-

making true

finement more and more

difficult all the

V
V

world over.

Do we

not need the tea*

room more than

ever?

99

ART APPRECIATION

ART APPRECIATION

HAVE you heard the


the

Taoist tale of

Taming of
^

the

Harp?

Once in the hoary ages in the Ravine of Lunginen stood a Kiri tree, a veritable

king of the

forest.

It reared
its

its

head to talk to the stars;


struck
their

roots

deep into the


coils

earth,

mingling
sil-

bronzed

with those of the

ver dragon that slept beneath.

And

it

came
of

to pass that a

mighty wizard made

this tree

a wondrous harp, whose

stubborn

spirit

should be tamed but by

For long the instrument was treasured by the Emperor of China, but all in vain were
the greatest of musicians.
1

The Dragon Gorge of Honan.

103

THE BOOK OF TEA


the efforts of those

who

in turn tried to

draw melody from

its strings.

In

re-

sponse to their utmost strivings there

came from the harp but harsh notes of


disdain, ill-according

with

the songs

they fain would sing.


to recognise a master.

The harp refused

At

last

came Peiwoh, the prince of

harpists.

With tender hand he

caressed

the harp as one might seek to soothe an

unruly horse, and softly touched the


chords.

He
and

sang of nature and the

seasons, of high mountains

and flowing

waters,

all

the memories of the tree

awoke! Once more the sweet breath of


spring played amidst

young

cataracts, as

The they danced down


its

branches.

the ravine, laughed to the


flowers.

budding

Anon were

heard the dreamy


its

voices of
sects, the

summer with
104

myriad

in-

gentle pattering of rain, the

ART APPRECIATION
wail of the cuckoo.

Hark

a tiger roars,
It
is

the valley answers again.


tumn;
a sword gleams the
frosted grass.

au-

in the desert night, sharp like

moon upon
reigns,

the

Now winter

and

through the snow-filled

air swirl flocks

of swans and rattling hailstones beat

upon

the boughs with fierce delight.

Then Peiwoh changed the key and sang of love. The forest swayed like
an ardent swain deep
lost in thought.

On

high, like a

haughty maiden, swept

a cloud bright and fair; but passing,


trailed

long shadows on the ground,

black like despair.

Again the mode was

changed; Peiwoh sang of war, of clashing steel and trampling steeds.


in the harp arose the tempest of

And
Lung-

men, the dragon rode the lightning, the


thundering avalanche crashed through
the
hills.

In ecstasy the
105

Celestial

mon-

THE BOOK OF TEA


arch asked Peiwoh wherein lay the secret of his victory.

" Sire," he replied,

" others have failed because they sang

but of themselves.
choose
its

I left the harp to

theme, and

knew not

truly

whether the harp had been Peiwoh or

Peiwoh were the

harp.''

This story well illustrates the mystery

The masterpiece is a symphony played upon our finest feelings. True art is Peiwoh, and we the harp of Lungmen. At the magic
of art appreciation.
touch of the beautiful the secret chords

of our being are awakened, we vibrate

and

thrill in

response to

its call.

Mind
un-

speaks to mind.
spoken,

We

listen to the

we gaze upon

the unseen.

The
of.

master

calls

forth notes

we know not
all

Memories long forgotten


to us with a
stifled

come back

new

significance.

by

fear, yearnings that

Hopes we dare

106

ART APPRECIATION
not recognise, stand forth in

new

glory.

Our mind
artists

is

the canvas

on which the

lay their colour; their pigments

are our emotions; their chiaroscuro the


light of joy, the

shadow of sadness. The

masterpiece

is

of ourselves, as we are of

the masterpiece.

The

sympathetic

communion

of

minds necessary for art appreciation

must be based on mutual concession.

The

spectator

must

cultivate the proper

attitude for receiving the message, as

the artist

must know how to impart

it.

The

tea-master,

Kobori-Enshiu, him-

self a daimyo, has left to us these

mem-

orable words "


:

Approach a great paintto understand a

ing as thou wouldst approach a great


prince."
terpiece,

In order

mas-

you must lay yourself low beits

fore
least

it

and await with bated breath

utterance.

An
107

eminent

Sung

THE BOOK OF
critic

TEA!

once

made
In

a charming confession.

Said he: "

my young

days I praised

the master whose pictures I liked, but

judgment matured I praised myself for liking what the masters had
as

my

chosen to have

me

like."

It

is

to be

deplored that so few of us really take


pains to study the moods of the mas-

In our stubborn ignorance we refuse to render them this simple courtesy, and thus often miss the rich repast
ters.

of beauty spread before our very eyes.


'A

master has

always

something to

oifer, while

cause

we go hungry solely beof our own lack of appreciation.


the sympathetic
reality

To

masterpiece

becomes a living

towards which

we feel drawn in bonds of comradeship. The masters are immortal, for their
loves

and fears
It
is

live in

us over and over

again.

rather the soul than the

108

ART APPRECIATION
man than the technique, which to us, the more human the

hand, the
appeals
call the

deeper

is

our response.

It

is

because of this

secret

understanding

between the master and ourselves that


in poetry or

romance we suffer and

re-

joice with the hero

and heroine. Chika -

matgu, our Japanese Shakespeare, has


laid

down

as one of the first principles

of dramatic composition the importance

of taking the audience into the confidence of the author.


Several of his

pupils submitted plays for his approval,

but only one of the pieces appealed to


him.
It

was a play somewhat resem-

bling the

Comedy of
suff^er

Errors, in which

twin brethren
identity.

through mistaken
said

" This,''

Chikamatsu,
of the drama,

"has the proper


for
it

spirit

takes the audience into consider-

ation.

The

public

is

permitted to

know

109

THE BOOK OF TEA


more than the
the mistake
actors.

It

knows where
poor
fig-

lies,

and

pities the

ures on the board


to their fate."

who

innocently rush

The great masters both of the East and the West never forgot the value of
suggestion as a means for taking the
spectator into their confidence.

Who

can contemplate a masterpiece without


being awed by the immense vista of

thought presented to our consideration?

How
they

familiar
all;

and sympathetic

are

how

cold in contrast the

mod-

ern comumonplaces!
feel the

In the former we
of a man's
sa-

warm outpouring

heart; in the latter only a formal


lute.

Engrossed

in his technique, the

modern rarely rises above himself. Like the musicians who vainly invoked the

Lungmen
self.

harp, he sings only of himscience,

His works may be nearer


110

ART APPRECIATION
but are further from humanity.

We
truly

have an old saying in Japan that a wo-

man

cannot love a
is

man who
fill

is

vain, for there

no crevice in
up.

his heart

for love to enter and

In

art

vanity

is

equally fatal to sympathetic

Reeling, whether

on the part of the

artist or the public.

Nothing

is

more hallowing than the


spirits in art.

union of kindred

At

the

moment of
not.

meeting, the art lover tran-

scends himself.

At

once he

is

and

is

He

catches a glimpse of Infinity,

but words cannot voice his delight, for


the eye has no tongue.

Freed from
It

the fetters of matter, his spirit moves


in the art
bles

rhythm of

things.

is

thus that

becomes akin to religion and enno-

mankind.

It

is

this

which makes a

masterpiece something sacred.

In the

old days the veneration in which the


111

THE BOOK OF TEA


Japanese held the work of the great
artist

was

intense.

The

tea-masters

guarded
secrecy,

their treasures with religious

and

it

was often necessary to


of boxes, one within
the
shrine

open a whole
another,
itself

series

before

reaching

the

silken

wrapping

within
holies.

whose soft folds lay the holy of

Rarely was the object exposed to view,

and then only

to the initiated.

At

the time

when Teaism was

in the

ascendency the Taiko's generals would


be better satisfied with the present of a
rare

work of

art than a large grant of

territory as a

reward of victory.

Many

of our favourite dramas are based on


the loss and recovery of a noted master-

For instance, in one play the palace of Lord Hosokawa, in which


piece.

was preserved the celebrated painting


of

Dharuma by

Sesson, suddenly takes

112

ART APPRECIATION
fire

through

the

negligence of

the
all

samurai in charge.

Resolved at

hazards to rescue the precious painting,

he rushes into the burning building and


seizes the

kakemono, only to find


exit cut off

all

means of
Thinking
slashes

by the

flames.

only
his

of

the

picture,

he

open
his

body with

his sword,

wraps

torn sleeve about the Sesson


it

and plunges

into the

gaping wound.

The

fire is at last

extinguished.
is

Among

the smoking embers

found a half-

consumed
rible as

corpse, within which reposes

the treasure uninjured

by the
set

fire.

Hor-

such tales are, they illustrate

the great value that

we

upon a masof a

terpiece, as well as the devotion

trusted samurai.

We
art
is

must remember, however, that


it

of value only to the extent that


It

speaks to us.

might be a universal
113

THE BOOK OF
language
if

TEA!

we

ourselves were universal

in our sympathies.

Our

finite

nature,
|

the

power of

tradition

and conventioninstincts,

ality, as well as

our hereditary

restrict the scope


artistic

of our capacity for

enjoyment.

Our very

individ-

uality establishes in one sense a limit to

our understanding; and our aesthetic


personality seeks
its

own
It

affinities
is

in

the creations of the past.

true that

with cultivation our sense of art appreciation broadens,

and we become able


hitherto unrecognised

to enjoy

many

expressions of beauty.

But, after

all,

we

see only our

own image

in the uni-

verse,

our

particular

idiosyncracies

dictate the

mode of our

perceptions.

The

tea-masters collected only objects


fell stiictly

which

within the measure

of their individual appreciation.

One

is

reminded in
114

this connection

ART APPRECIATION
of a story concerning Kobori-Enshiu.

Enshiu was complimented by


ples

his disci-

on the admirable
''

taste he

had

dis-

played in the choice of his collection.


Said they,

Each

piece

is

such that no
It shows that

one could help admiring.

you had better


ciated

taste than

had Rikiu,

for his collection could only be appre-

by one beholder
Enshiu

in a thousand."

Sorrowfully
only proves

replied:

"This

how commonplace I am.


to

The great Rikiu dared

love only

those objects which personally appealed


to him, whereas I unconsciously cater
to the taste of the majority.

Verily,

Rikiu was one in a thousand among teamasters."


It
is

much

to be regretted that so

much of

the apparent enthusiasm for

art at the present

day has no founda-

tion in real feeling.

In

this

democratic

115

THE BOOK OF TEA


age of ours

men clamour

for what

is

popularly considered the best, regardless

of their feelings.

They want

the

costly,

not the refined; the fashionable,

not the beautiful.

To

the masses, con-

templation of illustrated periodicals, the

worthy product of
ism,

their

own

industrial-

would give more

digestible

food

for artistic enjoyment than the early


Italians or the

Ashikaga masters,

whom

they pretend to admire.


the artist
is

The name of more important to them

than the quality of the work.


Chinese
critic

As

complained
criticise

many

centu-

ries ago, "

People
It
is

a picture by

their ear."

this lack
is

of genuine

appreciation that
o^Ov

responsible for the

^^'^ps^^^^-cl^ssic horrors that to-day greet

us wherever

we turn. Another common mistake


116

is

that of

confusing art with archaeology.


L

The

ART APPRECIATION
veneration born of antiquity
the best traits in the
is

one of

human
it

character,

and fain would we have


to a greater extent.

cultivated

The

old masters

are rightly to be honoured for opening

the path to future enlightenment.

The

mere fact that they have passed unscathed through centuries of criticism

and come down


glory

to us

still

covered with

commands our

respect.
if

But we

should be foolish indeed


their achievement simply

we valued
historical

on the score

of age.

Yet we allow our

sympathy
probation
in his

to override our aesthetic dis-

crimination.

We

offer flowers of ap-

when the artist is safely laid grave. The nineteenth century,

pregnant with the theory of evolution,


has moreover created in us the habit of
losing sight of
species.

the individual in
is

the

collector

anxious to ac-

117

THE BOOK OF TEA


quire specimens to illustrate a period

or a school, and forgets that a single

masterpiece can teach us more than any

number of the mediocre products of a


given period or school.
too

We

classify

much and enjoy

too

little.

The

sacrifice
scientific

of the aesthetic to the so-called

method of exhibition has been

the bane of

many museums.

The
life.

claims of contemporary art can-

not be ignored in any vital scheme of

The

art of to-day

is

that which

really belongs to us:


flection.

it is

our
it

In condemning
ourselves.

own rewe but


is

condemn

We
It

say that the

present age possesses no art:


responsible for this?
is

^who

indeed

shame that despite


about the ancients
tention to our

all

our rhapsodies
so little at-

we pay

own

possibilities.

Strugin

gling

artists,

weary souls lingermg


118

ART APPRECIATION
the

shadow of cold disdain!

In our

self-centred century,

what inspiration
past

do we offer them?

The

may

well

look with pity at the poverty of our


civilisation ; the

future will laugh at the

barrenness of our art.

We are destroy-

ing art in destroying the beautiful in


life.

Would

that

some great wizard


re-

might from the stem of society shape a

mighty harp whose strings would


sound to the touch of genius.

119

VI

FLOWERS]

VI
FLOWERS
the INdawn, when the birds were whisper-

trembling grey of a spring

ing in mysterious cadence


trees,

among

the

have you not

felt that

they were

talking to their mates about the flowers?

Surely with mankind the appre-

ciation

of

flowers

must have

been

coeval with the poetry of love.

Where
its

better than in a flower, sweet in

unconsciousness,
its silence,

fragrant because

of

can we image the unfolding

of a virgin soul?
in
off'ering

The primeval man


first

the

garland to his

maiden thereby transcended the Jbrute. v

He became human

in thus rising above

the crude necessities of nature.

He

123

THE BOOK OF TEA


entered
the

realm

of

art

when he

perceived the subtle use of the useless.

In joy or
dance, and

sadness, flowers are our

constant friends.
flirt

We

eat, drink, sing,

with them.

and

christen with flowers.

We wed We dare not

die without them.

We have worshipped
in battle array

with the
lotus,

lily,

we have meditated with the

we have charged

with the rose and the chrysanthemum.

We
we

have even attempted to speak in

the language of flowers.


live

How

could

without them?

It frightens one

to conceive of a world bereft of their

presence.

What

solace

do they not
sick,

bring to the bedside of the

what a

light of bliss to the darkness of


spirits?

weary
in

Their serene tenderness re-

stores to us our

waning confidence

the universe even as the intent gaze of a

FLOWERS
beautiful child recalls our lost hopes.

When we
they

are laid low in the dust

it is

who
as

linger in sorrow over our

graves.

Sad

it is,

we cannot

conceal the

fact that in spite of our companionship

with flowers we have not risen very far

above the brute.

Scratch the sheepskin


will

and the wolf _within us


his teeth.

soon show

It has been said that

man
and

at

ten

is

an animal, at twenty a

lunatic, at

thirty a failure, at forty a fraud,


fifty a criminal.

at

Perhaps he becomes a
real to us but

criminal because he has never ceased to

be an animal.

Nothing

is

hunger, nothing sacred except our


desires.

own

Shrine after shrine has crum;

bled before our eyes but one altar for-

ever

is

preserved, that whereon

we burn
is

incense to the supreme idol,

ourselves.
his

Our god

is

great,

and money

125

THE BOOK OF TEA


Prophet
to
!

make that we have conquered Matter and forget that


us.
it is

We devastate nature in order sacrifice to him. We boast


Matter that has enslaved
do we not perpeculture

What

atrocities

trate in the

name of

and

refine-

ment!
Tell me, gentle flowers, teardrops of
the stars, standing in the garden, nod-,

ding your heads to the bees as they sing


of the dews and the sunbeams, are you

aware of the fearful doom that awaits


you? Dream on, sway and
frolic while

you may
mer.
close

in the gentle breezes of

sumwill

To-morrow a
around your

ruthless

hand

throats.

You

will

be

wrenched, torn asunder limb by limb,

and borne away from your quiet homes.

The

wretch, she

may
still

be passing

fair.

She may say how


her fingers are

lovely

you are while

moist with your

126

FLOWERS
blood.

Tell me, will this be kindness?

It

may

be your fate to be imprisoned

in the hair of one

whom you know to be


to look

heartless or to be thrust into the button-

hole of one

who would not dare


lot to

you

in the face

were you a man.

It

may

even be your

be confined in

some narrow

vessel with only stagnant

water to quench the maddening thirst


that warns of ebbing
life.

Flowers,

if

you were

in the land of

the Mikado,

you might some time meet

a dread personage armed with scissors

and a tiny saw.

He

would

call

himself

a Master of Flowers.
the rights of a doctor

He

would claim

and you would

instinctively hate him, for

you know a

doctor always seeks to prolong the troubles of his victims.

He would cut, bend,


it

and

twist

you

into those impossible po-

sitions

which he thinks
127

proper that

THE BOOK OF TEA


you should assume.
your muscles and
like

He

would contort
your bones

dislocate

any osteopath.

He

would burn
your
to
into

you with red-hot


bleeding,
assist

coals to stop

and thrust wires


circulation.
salt,

you

your
with

He

would
alum,

diet

you

vinegar,

and

sometimes,

vitriol.

Boiling water would

be poured on your feet when you

seemed ready to

faint.

It

would be

his

boast that he could keep

life

within you

for two or more

weeks longer than


possible without
his

would have been


treatment.

Would you
first

not have pre-

ferred to have been killed at once

when
were

you were

captured?

What

the crimes you must have committed

during your past incarnation to warrant


such punishment in this?

The wanton waste of


Western communities
is

flowers

among

even more ap-

U8

FLOWERS
palling than the

way they

are treated

by Eastern Flower Masters. The number of flowers cut daily to adorn the
ballrooms and banquet-tables of Europe

and America,
mous;
if

to be

thrown away on

the morrow, must be something enor-

strung together they might


Beside
this utter

garland a continent.
carelessness of
life,

the guilt of the


insignificant.

Flower-Master becomes

He,

at least, respects the

economy of

nature, selects his victims with careful


foresight,

and after death does honour


In the West the
dis-

to their remains.

play of flowers seems to be a part of


the pageantry of wealth,

the fancy of
all

a moment.

Whither do they

go,

these flowers,

when the revelry is over? Nothing is more pitiful than to see a faded flower remorselessly flung upon a dung heap.
129

THE BOOK OF TEA


i

Why were the flowers born so beautiful

and yet

so hapless?

Insects can

sting,

and even the meekest of beasts

will fight
bird^

when brought
is

to bay.

The

whose plumage
fly

sought to deckits

some bonnet can


for your
proach.

from

pursuer,

the furred animal whose coat you covet

own may hide at your apAlas! The only flower known


is

to have wings

the butterfly;

all

others

stand helpless before the destroyer.

If

they shriek in their death agony their


cry never reaches our hardened ears.

We

are ever brutal to those

who

love

and serve us

in silence, but the time


cruelty,

may
shall

come when, for our


ours.

we

be deserted by these best friends of

Have you
It

not noticed that the

wild flowers are becoming scarcer every

year?

may

be that their wise


till

have told them to depart


130

men man be-

I
Much may
who
pot
is

FLOWERS
Perhaps they have

comes more human.


migrated to heaven.

be said in favour of him


the the
his

cultivates plants.

far

The man of more humane than he of


watch with delight

scissors.

We

concern about water and sunshine, his


feuds

with

parasites, his

horror

of

frosts, his anxiety

slowly, his

when the buds come rapture when the leaves atIn the East the
and
art of
is

tain their lustre.


floriculture

a very ancient one, and


his favourite

the loves of a poet

plant have often been recorded in story

and song.
dynasties
tacles

With

the development of

ceramics during the

Tang and Sung

we hear of wonderful recepmade to hold plants, not pots, but

jewelled palaces.

A
131

special attendant

was

detailed to wait

upon each flower

and

to

wash

its

leaves with soft brushes

THE BOOK OF TEA


made of
ten
*

rabbit hair.

It has been writ-

that the

peony should be bathed


in full costume,

by a handsome maiden

that a winter-plum should be watered

by a

pale, slender

monk.

In Japan,;

one of the most .popular of the No-^


dances, the Hachinoki, composed dur-:

ing the Ashikaga period,

is

based upon

the story of an impoverished knight,

who, on a freezing night, in lack of fuel


for a
fire,

cuts his cherished plants in|

order to entertain a wandering friar.

The

friar

is

in reality

no other thani

Hojo-Tokiyori,

the

Haroun-Al-Rasis

chid of our tales, and the sacrifice

not

without
fails to

its

reward.
tears

This opera never

draw

from a Tokio

audi-

ence even to-day.

Great precautions were taken for the


preservation of delicate blossoms.
1

Em-

" Pingtse," by Yuenchunlang.

132

FLOWERS
peror Huensung, of the

Tang

dynasty,

hung
in his
it

tiny golden bells on the branches

garden to keep off the

birds.

He

was who went off

in the springtime

with his court musicians to gladden the


flowers with soft music.
let,

A quaint tab-

which tradition ascribes to Yoshit-

sune, the hero of our Arthurian legends,


is still

extant in one of the Japanese


is

monasteries.^ It

a notice put

up

for

the protection of a certain wonderful

plum-tree, and appeals to us witK the

grim humour of a warlike age.


the inscription says "

After
cuts a

referring to the beauty of the blossoms,


:

Whoever

single branch of this tree shall forfeit

a finger therefor."
laws
could

Would

that such

be

enforced

nowadays
destroy^
art!

against those
flowers

who wantonly

and mutilate objects of


2

Sumadera, near Kobe.

133

THE BOOK OF

TEA!

Yet even in the case of pot flowers we are inclined to suspect the selfishness
of man.
their

Why

take the plants from


to

homes and ask them

bloom mid
it

strange surroundings?

Is

not like

asking the birds to

sing

and mate

cooped up in cages?

Who

knows but
by the
arti-

that the orchids feel stifled


ficial

heat in your conservatories and

hopelessly long for a glimpse of their

own Southern skies? The ideal lover of


visits

flowers

is

he

who

them

in their native haunts, like


sat before a

Taoyuenming,^ who

broken

bamboo fence

in converse with the wild

chrysanthemum, or Linwosing, losing


himself amid mysterious fragrance as

he wandered in the twilight among the


plima-blossoms of the Western Lake.
'Tis said that

Chowmushih
134

slept in

All celebrated Chinese poets and philosophers.

FLOWERS
was

boat so that his dreams might mingle


It
this

with those of the lotus.

same

spirit

which moved the Empress

Komio, one of our most renowned Nara


sovereigns, as she sang:
thee,

"If I pluck
thee,

my
art,

hand

will

defile

Flower!
thou

Standing in the meadows as


I offer thee to the Buddhas

of the past, of the present, of the


future/'

However,
taL
magnificent.

let

us not be too sentimenless

(^ ^

Let us be

luxurious but more

Said

Laotse

"

Heaven

and earth are


shi: "

pitiless."

Said Kobodai-

Flow, flow, flow, flow, the current


ever onward.
all."

of

life is

Die,

die, die,

die,

death comes to

Destruction

faces us wherever

we turn. Destruction
is

below and above, destruction behind

and before.
nal,

Change
as

the only Eter-

why not

welcome Death as

135

THE BOOK OF TEA


Life?

They

of the other,

are but counterparts one


^the

Night and
becomes

Day

of

Brahma.
of the

Through the

disintegration
possible.

old, re-creation

We have worshipped Death, the relentless

goddess of mercy, under


It

many

dif-

ferent names.

was the shadow of the


the icy purism of the

[All-devouring that the Gheburs greeted


in the
fire.

It

is

sword-soul before which Shinto-Japan


prostrates
herself

even to-day.

The

mystic

fire

consumes our weakness, the

sacred sword cleaves the bondage of


desire.

From

our ashes springs

the

phoenix of celestial hope, out of the

freedom comes a higher

realisation

of

manhood.

Why
we can
in our

not destroy flowers if thereby


evolve

new forms ennobling

the

world idea?

We only ask them to join sacrifice to the beautiful. We


136

FLOWERS

Ishall atone for the deed by consecrating


ourselves
to

Purity

and

Simplicity. >

Thus reasoned

the tea-masters

when
ways

they estabhshed the Cult of Flowers.

Anyone acquainted with


of our
tea-

the

and flower-masters must

have noticed the religious veneration


with which they regard flowers.

They
se-

do not
lect

cull at

random, but carefully

each branch or spray with an eye to


in

the artistic composition they have

mind.

They would be ashamed should


It

they chance to cut more than were absolutely necessary.

may

be remarked

in this connection that they always associate the leaves, if there

be any, with the


is

flower, for their object

to present the
life.

whole beauty of plant


respect, as in
diff'ers

In

this

many

others, their

method

from that pursued

in

Western

countries.

Here we

are apt to see only

137

THE BOOK OF
the flower stems, heads, as

TEA!
it

were, with-

out body, stuck promiscuously; into a


vase.

When
it

a tea-master has arranged a

flower to his satisfaction he will place

on the tokonoma, the place of honour


Japanese room.
it

in a

Nothing

else will

be placed near
with
its eff'ect,

which might interfere

not even a painting, un-

less there

be some special aesthetic reaIt rests there

son for the combination.


like

an enthroned

prince,

and the guests

or disciples on entering the


salute
it

room will with a profound bow before


to the
host.

making

their addresses

Drawings from masterpieces are made and published for the edification of
amateurs.
the subject

The amount of literature on


is

quite voluminous.

When

the flower fades, the master tenderly

consigns

it

to the river or carefully bur-

138

FLOWERS
ies it

in the ground.

Monuments even

*re sometimes erected to their memory.

^The

birth of the

Art of Flower Ar-

rangement seems to be simultaneous


with that of Teaism in the fifteenth
century.
^
;

Our

legends ascribe the


to

first

^!
|

flower

arrangement

those

early

Buddliist saints
ers

who gathered

the flow-

strewn by the storm and, in their


j

infinite solicitude for all living things,

placed them in vessels of water.


said that Spami, the great painter

It

is

and

connoisseur of the court of Ashikaga-

Yoshimasa,
adepts at
it.

was

one of

the earliest

Jukp^ the tea-master, was

one of his pupils, as was also Senno,


the founder of the house of Ikenobo, a

family as illustrious in the annals of


flowers as

was that of the Kanos in

painting.
tea-ritual

With

the perfecting of the


latter

under Rikiu, in the ~^


139

THE BOOK OF
arrangement
Rikiu and
Ota-wuraka,

TEA!

part of the sixteenth century, flower


also attains its full growth.

his successors, the celebrated

Furuka-Oribe, Koyetsu,

Kobori-Enshiu, Katagiri-Sekishiu, vied


with each other in forming
nations.

new combi-

We must remember, however,

that the flower worship of the tea-masters

formed only a part of their aesthetic

ritual,

and was not a

distinct religion
like

by

itself.

A flower

arrangement,

the other works of art in the tea-room,

was subordinated to the


decoration.

total

scheme of

Thus Sekishiu ordained that white plum blossoms should not be made use of when snow lay in the garden.

" Noisy " flowers were relentlessly

banished from the tea-room.

A flower
loses its

arrangement by a tea-master
significance if

removed from the place

for which

it

was originally intended,


140

FLOWERS
for
its lines

and proportions have been


its

specially

worked out with a view to

surroundings.

The adoration of the flower for its own sake begins with the rise of " Flower-Masters," toward the middle of the

seventeenth century.

It

now becomes

independent of the tea-room and knows

no law save that that the vase imposes


on
it.

New conceptions and methods of


now become
possible,

execution

and

many were the principles and schools resulting therefrom.

A writer in the mid-

dle of the last century said he could

count over ong hundred diif erent schools


of flower arrangement. Broadly speaking, these divide themselves into

two

main branches, the


Naturalesque.
led

F ormalistic

and the

The Formahstic schools,


at a classic

by the Ikenobos, aimed


141

idealism corresponding to that of the

THE BOOK OF TEA


Kano-academicians.

We

possess rec-

ords of arrangements by the early masters of this school

which almost repro-

duce the flower paintings of Sansetsu

and

Tsunenobu.

The

Naturalesque
as its

school,

on the other hand,

name

implies, accepted nature as its model,

only imposing such

modificatioiis,...fiL

f<^m

as conduced to the expressioix of

Thus we recognise in its works the same impulses which formed the Ukiyoe and Shijo schools of
artistic unity.

painting.
It

would be

interesting,

had we time,
is

to enter

more fully than

now

possi-

ble into the laws of composition


detail

and

formulated by the various flower-

masters of this period, showing, as they

would, the fundamental theories which

governed Tokugawa decoration.


find

We

them referring
142

to the

Leading

FLOWERS
Principle
Principle

(Heaven), the Subordinate


(Earth),
the

Reconciling
ar-

Principle

(Man), and any flower

rangement which did not embody these


.^^principles
''dead.

was considered barren and


also dwelt

They

much on

the
its

importance of treating a flower in

three difl*erent aspects, the Formal, the

Semi-Formal, and the Informal.


first

The

might be said to represent flowers

in the stately costume of the ballroom,

the second in the easy elegance of after-

noon

dress, the third in the

charming

deshabille of the boudoir.

Our

personal sympathies are with the

flower-arrangements of the tea-master


rather than with those of the flower-

master.
setting
its

The former

is

art in

its

proper

and appeals to us on account of


life.

true intimacy with

We

should

like to call this school the

Natural in

143

THE BOOK OF TEA


contradistinction to the Naturalesque

and Formalistic
ter

schools.

The
leaves

tea-masselec-

deems

his

duty ended with the

tion of the flowers,


tell their

and

them

to

own

story.

Entering a teasee a slen-

room

in late winter,

you may

der spray of wild cherries in combination with a

budding camellia;

it is

an

echo of departing winter coupled with


the prophecy of spring.

Again,

if

you

go
hot

into a noon-tea

on some

irritatingly

summer

day, you

may

discover in

the darkened coolness of the

tokonoma

a single

lily in
it

a hanging vase; dripping

with dew,

seems to smile at the fool-

ishness of life.

A
cing.

solo

of flowers

is

interesting, but

in a concerto with painting

and sculp-

ture the combination becomes entran-

Sekishiu once placed some water-

plants in a flat receptacle to suggest the

U4i

FLOWERS
vegetation of lakes and marshes, and on
the wall above he

hung a painting by

Soami of wild ducks flying in the air. Shoha, another tea-master, combined a

poem on
in the

the

Beauty of Solitude by

the Sea with a bronze incense burner

form of a fisherman's hut and

some wild flowers of the beach. One of


the guests has recorded that he felt in
the whole

composition the

breath of

waning autumn.
Flower
stories are endless.

We shall

recount but one more.

In

the sixteenth

century the morning-glory was as yet


a rare plant with us.
entire

Rikiu had an
it,

garden planted with

which

he cultivated with assiduous care.

The

fame of

his convolvuli

reached the ear

of the Taiko, and he expressed a desire


to see them, in consequence of which

Rikiu invited him to a morning tea at


145

THE BOOK OF TEA


his house.

On the appointed day Taiko


see

walked through the garden, but nowhere could he


convolvulus.
leveled

any vestige of the


fine pebbles

The ground had been


and
despot en-

and strewn with

sand.

With sullen anger the

tered the tea-room, but a sight waited

him there which completely restored


humour.
bronze of

his

On

the tokonoma, in a rare

single morning-glory

Sung workmanship,
^the

lay

queen of the

whole garden!

In such instances we
nificance of the

see the full sigSacrifice.

Flower

Persig-

haps the flowers appreciate the full


nificance of
like
it.

They

are not cowards,

men.

Some

flowers glory in death

certainly the Japanese


the:y^.frjeel

cherry blos -

samajlo, as

sejves to the winds.

y surrender themAnyone who has

stood before the fragrant avalanche at

146

I
lised this.
like

FLOWERS
For a moment they hover

Yoshino or Arashiyama must have reabejewelled clouds and dance above

the crystal streams; then, as they sail

away on
to say:
''

the laughing waters, they

seem

Farewell,

Spring!

We are

on

to Eternity."

14T

VII

TEA MASTERS

TEA-MASTERS

INIn

religion the

Future
is

is

behind us.
eternal.

art the

Present

the

The tea-masters
tion of art
is

held that real apprecia-

only possible to those

make of

it

a living influence.

wHo Thus
life

/!>

they sought to regulate their daily

by the high standard of refinement which obtained in the tea-room. In all circumstances serenity of mind should be maintained, and conversation should be so conducted as never to mar the harmony of the surroundings. The
cut and colour of the dress, the poise of the body,

and the manner of walking


artistic

could

all

be made expressions of

personality.

These were matters not


151

THE BOOK OF TEA


to be lightly ignored, for until one has

niade himself ^

right

to^approach beauty.

Thus
It

the tea-mas-

ter strove to be something

more than
everyit.

the artist,

art itself.

was the Zen


is

of aestheticism.

Perfection

where

if

we only

choose to recognise

Rikiu loved to quote an old poem which


says
:

"

To

those

who long only

for
full-

flowers, fain

would I show the

blown spring which abides


buds of snow-covered

in the toiling

hills."

Manifold indeed have been the contributions


'

of the tea-masters to
revolutionised

art.

They
rations,

completely

the

X^lassical architecture and interior deco-

and established the new

style

which we have described in the chapter


of the tea-room, a style to whose
influ-

ence even the palaces and monasteries


built after the sixteenth century

have

162

TEA-MASTERS
all

been

subject.

The

many-sided

Kobori-Enshiu has

left notable

exam-

ples of his genius in the Imperial villa

of Katsura, the castles of Najoya and


Nijo, and the monastery of Kohoan.

All the celebrated gardens

of Japan

r
t

were laid out by the tea-masters.

Our
i

pottery would probably never have attained


its

high quality of excellence if

the tea-masters
inspiration,

had not

lent to

it

their

the

manufacture of the

utensils used in the tea

ceremony calling

forth the utmost expenditure of inge-

nuity on the part of our ceramists.

Seven Kilns of Enshiu are well


to all students

The known

of Japanese

pottery.

Many

of our

textile fabrics bear the

names of tea-masters who conceived


their colour or design.

It

is

impossible,

indeed, to find
in

any department of art


left

which the tea-masters have not


153

THE BOOK OF TEA


marks of their genius. In painting and
lacquer
it

seems almost superfluous to

mention the immense service they have


rendered.

One of

the greatest schools


origin to the tea-

of painting owes

its

master HonnaiiiiJKoyetsu, famed also


as a lacquer artist

and

potter.

Beside
of his

his works, the splendid creation

grandson,

Koho, and of

his

grand-

nephews, Korin

and Kenzan, almost

fall into the shade.

The whole Korin


is

scho ol, as Jjus. gener ally de signated,

an expressions^
lines

In the broad

of

this school

we seem

to find the

vitality

of nature herself.

Great as has been the influence of thej


tea-masters in the field of art,
it is

as

nothing compared to that which they

have exerted on the conduct of

life.

Not only

in the usages of polite society,


all

but also in the arrangement of


154

our

TEA-MASTERS
domestic details, do

we

feel the presence

of the tea-masters.

Many

of our

deli-

cate dishes, as well as our

way of

serv-

ing food, are their inventions.

They
in<

have taught us to dress only in gar-

ments of sober colours.


approach

They have

structed us in the proper spirit in which


to
jBlowers.

They have given

emphasis to our natural love of simplicity,

and shown us the beauty of huIn


fact,

mility.

through their teachings

tea has entered the life of the people.

Those of us who know not the secret


of properly regulating our

own

exist-

ence on this tumultuous sea of foolish


troubles which

we

call life

are con-

stantly in a state of misery while vainly

trying to appear happy and contented.

We stagger in the attempt to keep


of the tempest in every cloud that
155

our

moral equilibrium, and see forerunners


floats

THE BOOK OF TEA


on the horizon.
beauty in the
roll

Yet

there

is

joy and

of the billows as they


eternity.
spirit,

sweep outward toward


not enter into
Liehtse, ride
their

Why
like

or,

upon

the hurricane itself?

He only who has lived with the beautiful

can die beautifully.

The

last

moments of
been their
in

the great tea-masters were

as full of exquisite refinement as


lives.

had

Seeking always to be

harmony with the great rhythm of

the universe, they were ever prepared to

enter the unknown.

The "Last Tea

of Rikiu " will stand forth forever as


the acme of tragic grandeur.

Long had been

the friendship be-

tween Rikiu and the Taiko-Hideyoshi,

and high the estimation


the friendship of a despot

in which the

great warrior held the tea-master.


is

But
rife

ever a dan-

gerous honour.

It

was an age

156

TEA-MASTERS
with treachery, and

men

trusted not

even their nearest kin.


servile courtier,

Rikiu was no

and had often dared


his fierce

to differ in

argument with

patron.

Taking advantage of the

cold-

ness which had for

some time existed be-

tween the Taiko and Rikiu, the enemies


of the latter accused him of being implicated in a conspiracy to poison the

despot.

It

was whispered

to

Hidey-

oshi that the fatal potion

was to be ad-

ministered to him with a cup of the

green beverage prepared by the teamaster.


sufficient

With Hideyoshi

suspicion

was
will

ground for instant execution,

and there was no appeal from the


of the angry ruler.

One

privilege alone

was granted to the condemned honour of dying by his own hand.

^the

On

the

day destined for


157

his self-im-

molation, Rikiu invited his chief dis-

THE BOOK OF

TEA'
Mourn-

ciples to a last tea-ceremony.

fully at the appointed time the guests

met
der,

at the portico.

As

they look into

the garden path the trees seem to shud-

and

in the rustling of their leaves

are

heard the whispers of homeless

ghosts.

Like solemn sentinels before

the gates of
lanterns.

Hades stand

the grey stone


is

wave of rare incense


it is

wafted from the tea-room;

the sum-

mons which bids the guests to enter. One by one they advance and take their places. In the tokonoma hangs a kakemono, a wonderful writing by an an-

cient

monk dealing with the evanescence


earthly things.
it boils

of

all

The singing
his

ket-

tle,

as

over the brazier, sounds

like

some cicada pouring forth


summer.

woes

to departing

Soon the host


in turn
is

enters the room.

Each
158

served

with

tea,

and each

in turn silently drains

TEA-MASTERS
his cup, the host last

of

all.

Accord-

ing to established etiquette, the chief


guest
the

now

asks permission to examine

tea-equipage.

Rikiu

places

the

various articles before them, with the

kakemono.
sents one of

After

all

have expressed

admiration of their beauty, Rikiu pre-

them

to each of the assem-

bled

company

as a souvenir. "

The bowl
shall

alone he keeps.
this cup, polluted

Never again
lips

by the

of misspeaks,

fortune, be used

by man."

He

and breaks the

vessel into fragments.

The ceremony is
their last farewell

over; the guests with

difficulty restraining their tears,

take

and leave the room. and


dearest,
is

One

only, the nearest

requested to remain and witness the end.

Rikiu then removes


carefully folds
it

his

tea-gown and

upon
159

the mat, thereby

disclosing the immaculate white death^

THE BOOK OF TEA


robe which
it

had hitherto concealed.

Tenderly he gazes on the shining blade


of the fatal dagger, and in exquisite
verse thus addresses
it:

" Welcome to thee,

sword of eternity 1

Through Buddha

And

through Dharuma alike


hast cleft thy way."

Thou

With a

smile

upon

his

face

Rikiu

passed forth into the unknown.

160

14 DAY USE RETURN TO DEftfC FJIOM WHICH BORROWED


This book
is due on SieTast ^ai^tWkci^d below, or on the date to which renewed.

Renewed books are subject to immediate

recall.

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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY