The book examines the most important chashitsu and, where they exist, the roji where they re located. These simple, traditional houses and gardens were conceived and built by Japanese masters, specifically for the tea ceremony, from the 15th century onwards.
Unusual places for meditation are some of the most important sources for medieval and modern Japanese esthetics. The text by Francesco Montagnana, who provides an introduction to concepts and images that are deeply rooted in Japanese culture, starts the book by illustrating the specific and unusual nature of the place conceived for the tea ceremony. A whole chapter is devoted to the actual tea ceremony (chanoyu). The various phases of the tea ceremony are described in detail, simple gestures which became a formal ritual. The book ends with a contribution from Masao Nakamura, the world’s foremost expert in this field. He traces the history of the chashitsu and the Tea Route, starting from the 15th century, when what had hitherto been a pleasant habit introduced from China associated with Zen philosophy and the Samurai, became an art and a fascinating ritual. Full-size photographs by Tadahiko Hayashi, one of Japan’s leading photographers of the second half of the 20th century, together with a large number of drawings illustrate a selection of 27 tea houses, many of which have become part of the national heritage. For the first time, this comprehensive work presents Japanese tea houses, considered from every angle, for the Western reader to enjoy. The book also contains bibliographies, a glossary and a list of photographs.