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Title

Teahouse (Chashitsu): Gallery Label - Current

Author

Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Date

2006-05-30

Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Japan's ruling warrior elite first held lavish tea gatherings in their formal reception halls. As tea masters like Murata Shuko_ (1422-1502), Takeno Jo_o_ (1502-1555) and Sen Rikyu_ (1520-1591) began to advocate the practice of wabi (rustic) tea in the 16th century, separate, specially designed teahouses began to be built. Shuko_ introduced an architectural style called so_an, literally "grass hut." So_an teahouses were small and constructed from humble materials including roughly milled lumber, bamboo, thatch, and earthen walls. In its simplicity, soan teahouses were meant to suggest a monk's retreat in the wilderness. The low entranceway required all participants to humble themselves as they entered the tearoom from the garden. Although a built-in alcove for the display of art was adopted from more formal structures, its size was greatly reduced--sufficient only to display a small painting or simple floral arrangement.

The museum's teahouse is based on the Sa-an, an 18th century teahouse within the Zen monastery of Daitokuji in Kyoto that is now designated as one of Japan's "Important Cultural Properties." A small, carved signboard under the eaves of the museum's teahouse reads "Zenshin-an," Hermitage of the Meditative Heart -- a name bestowed on the structure by Fukushima Keido_, the current abbot of Tofukuji temple in Kyoto.

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Type: Commentary, Gallery Label - Current
Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: November 21, 2009