Chigusa and the Art of Tea

The power of seeing, the power of naming: Japanese collectors in the sixteenth century used the compact tea room as the setting for interacting with objects. Looking closely at form and surface, they singled out exceptional works and gave them personal names out of respect. These named objects developed a reputation and a history as they were displayed and used in tea gatherings. Chigusa and the Art of Tea shows how one Chinese storage jar was transformed into a vessel worthy of display, adornment, and contemplation in Japan. Diaries of tea events reveal what the writers admired about Chigusa. Other cherished objects—Chinese calligraphy, Chinese and Korean tea bowls, Japanese stoneware containers and wooden vessels—used during this formative era of Japanese tea culture are also on view.