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What Is Twenty-First Century Tea?

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Chapter Summary

The experience of calm tea-rooms is contrasted with the centrality of harmony in the Japanese mythology of Japaneseness. The tea-room has two entrances: a full height entrance allows the host to come and go while carrying utensils as the serving procedure demands and the second entrance, which the two guests crawl through later, is only about knee high. The alcove's irregular timber structure contrasts with the geometric rigour of the paper-screen windows in the tea-room, as well as the black-bordered tatami mats on the floor. Tatami are an essential component of any tea-room because they provide the clear demarcation of space that is required for the proper movements of utensils and participants in the ceremony. The low, garden-side entrance to the tea-room is barely two feet high. It is entered on one's hands and knees. It encourages us once more to leave all social status and worries outside.

Keywords: alcove; irregular timber structure; Japanese mythology; tatami mats; tea-room

10.1163/ej.9781905246748.i-318.9
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