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19/08/2013

The Tea-Room Abode of the Unsymmetrical | Char

The Tea-Room Abode of the Unsymmetrical


Western critics have long commented on the lack of symmetry in Japanese art. Like the Abode of Vacancy, the unsymmetrical element stems from Taoist ideals translated through Zennism.
Conversely, the Tang dynasty and Nara period both constantly strived for symmetry. Confucianism, with its centre on dualism, and Northern Buddhism were not opposed to symmetry. This was mirrored in interior decor, with everything being arranged in a regular fashion. However, the Taoist and Zen perception of beauty and what constitutes perfect was very different. The philosophy of Zennism and Taoism focused on the route to perfection, rather than on perfection itself. The appreciation of something beautiful was more than just looking at the inherent beauty in a painting or an arrangement of flowers It was the process of assimilating the main object with its surroundings true beauty could be discovered only by one who mentally completed the incomplete. The concept of beauty in the tea-room is ephemeral. Each guest assimilates their surroundings in the tea-room, completing the total effect of art and beauty in their own imagination an appreciation unique to himself. Symmetry was seen as completion and repetition qualities which are not viewed as beautiful within the Zennism mode of thought. A room full of different paintings and statues is perceived to be a confusion of colour and artistic medium far from being an appreciation of art, it is seen as a vulgar display of wealth. Zennism found beauty in nature and imagination Every leaf is a different shape, every petal a different shade; leaves fall from trees onto swept paths and dew drops litter tables under vases. All of these things are in stark contrast to the uniformity of symmetry. Landscapes, birds and flowers became beloved subjects for artistic depictions, rather than the human form. Why would you need a portrait of someone, when they are still their living?

www.charteas.com/blog/2013/08/19/the-tea-room-abode-of-the-unsymmetrical/

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19/08/2013

The Tea-Room Abode of the Unsymmetrical | Char

The tea-master must not repeat any colour or design in their tea-room, choosing objects of art that are vastly different from each other. If they choose a vase of fresh flowers, then a painting of flowers is not acceptable elsewhere in the tea-room. If the tea-master is using a round kettle, then the pitcher of water must be angular. The cup should not match the tea-caddy. And its not just the object choice that is important, but the placement of these objects in the room. The tokonoma should not be divided into equal halves by placing an object in the direct centre objects such as an incense burner or a vase would be placed slightly to one side. Similarly, the pillar of the tokonoma would be of a different wood to that of the other pillars so that there is nothing of a monotonous nature. The tea-room is a haven of simplicity, free of the vulgar and repetitious. Guests in the tea-room all become equal with each other, with no social order before a work of art there was no distinction between [...] samurai, and commoner. Without reminders of the vexes in the outside world, guests can there and there alone [...] consecrate himself to undisturbed adoration of the beautiful. With everything that goes on in the world today, do we not need a tea-room now more than ever before?

This entry was posted in Uncategorized on August 19, 2013 [http://www.charteas.com/blog/2013/08/19/thetea-room-abode-of-the-unsymmetrical/] .

www.charteas.com/blog/2013/08/19/the-tea-room-abode-of-the-unsymmetrical/

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