Chigusa and the Art of Tea
It was admired for centuries, considered a vessel worthy of display, adornment, and contemplation. Now Chigusa and the Art of Tea traces the journey of this tea-leaf storage jar through seven centuries, from its humble beginnings in Song or Yuan dynasty China to its veneration as a named object in sixteenth-century Japan. That name—Chigusa—distinguished the object and allowed it to be discussed as a discrete entity, much like a person. Named tea jars added a new dimension to chanoyu, the intricate tea practice that focused on the taste of the tea, the utensils used to prepare it, and the ideal environment for aesthetic contemplation. Chigusa and the Art of Tea reveals Chigusa’s significance through the words of tea men, whose meticulously recorded diaries describe their early encounters with the jar. The book also examines the textiles, documents, and accessories that accompanied the jar through its centuries of connoisseurship in Japan—including those prepared in the sixteenth century by its first recorded owner—until its acquisition by the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art in 2009.
Chigusa and the Art of Tea was written and edited by Louise Allison Cort, curator for ceramics, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, and Andrew M. Watsky, professor of Japanese art, Princeton University; with Takeuchi Jun’ichi, director, Eisei-Bunko Museum, Tokyo, and Oka Yoshiko, professor of Japanese cultural history, Otemae University Graduate School of Comparative Culture, Nishinomiya, Japan. Additional contributions by Li Baoping, Li Jianan, Nishida Hiroko, Omori Masashi, Inoue Kikuo, Satoh Rumi, Yoshioka Akemi, Chika Mouri, Blythe McCarthy, Kumakura Isao, and Julia Meech. Paperback; 288 pages; 152 color and 121 black-and-white images; 10.875"l. x 8.25"w.
This book is a companion to the exhibition Chigusa & the Art of Tea at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.
Every Smithsonian purchase will arrive with a museum provenance card explaining how it is adapted from or inspired by an object or objects in our collection.
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