Monday, November 17, 2008

A tea ceremony and the Ohara school

It was my first experience with a Japanese tea ceremony here in Madras, and quite an event it was!

Organised at the Japanese Consulate, it may have been sniffed at by the purists, but for us non-Japanese, it was a whiff of their culture, zen thought and philosophy.

So much care, silence, the trickle of water, the appreciation of the tea cup, the deliberate cleaning of the serving cup and other implements....

All for a cup of tea you may ask?  Its not the end that matters but the process I guess!
Take a look at all the implements that were involved. We were told that the whisk (that you see in the foreground) is ceremonially consigned to the temple fire, once a year in a special ceremony.

Then there's a cloth to wipe the ladle, another to wipe out the guests' cup...all in all very complicated!

One must make the time to relax, meditate, and calm the mind before having the energising tea!
Above is the container holding the cool water.  This is poured deliberately into the boiler, pictured below.  During the process, one hears the soothing sound of the water trickling.

And the tea is accompanied by these various Japanese sweets.  Some were gelatin-based, others were redbean, and still others had a biscuity texture!
Then there was an interlude, followed by a few arrangements put up by the Ohara ladies, led by Sherry.  (I hope I have spelt her name correctly?)
This lovely landscape arrangement was placed outside, with coconut saplings forming the major part.
A no-kenzan arrangement above, and a miniature landscape below.

A delightful and aesthetic arrangement with vegetables on a banana leaf

Qumqat branches and Asia lilies - subject and object.

A composite arrangement with several vases.

A refreshing morning indeed!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As usual good reporting!! Malathi.