"It was the Sengoku-era, when the warlords usurped each other. There was a man who's soul was overtaken by the ways of tea and material greed, as he worked his way toward greater power and status. His name was Sasuke Furuta, a subordinate warrior of Nobunaga Oda. With his world broadened by Nobunaga the Genius, and his spiritual insight learned from Senno Soueki the Master of Tea, Sasuke drove road to Hyoge Mono. To live or not to live. For the power or the art. That is the question!!"
Let's take a walk back in time, say to the 1570s. Not just any ol' hike through the woods, but a pilgrimage to the birthplace of some of Japan's greatest ceramic wares.We find ourselves in the hills surrounding Toki and Tajimi cities in Mino Province, now in southern Gifu Prefecture. Many new kilns have been established by potters fleeing the frequent battlegrounds of Owari Province, where the great kilns of Seto are. Notably, one Kato Kagemitsu (1513-1585) relocated here in 1574 and opened kilns in Okaya, Ohira and Kujiri that fired some of the Shino-ware masterpieces of the Momoyama Period (1573-1615).
"SEN Rikyū, the 16th-century tea master who perfected the Way of Tea, was once asked to explain what this Way entails. He replied that it was a matter of observing but seven rules: Make a satisfying bowl of tea; Lay the charcoal so that the water boils efficiently; Provide a sense of coolness in the summer and warmth in the winter; Arrange the flowers as though they were in the field; Be ready ahead of time; Be prepared in case it should rain; Act with utmost consideration toward your guests.According to the well-known story relating the dialogue between Rikyū and the questioner mentioned above, the questioner was vexed by Rikyū's reply, saying that those were simple matters that anyone could handle. To this, Rikyū responded that he would become a disciple of the person who could carry them out without fail.This story tells us that the Way of Tea is basically concerned with activities that are a part of everyday life, yet to master these requires great cultivation. In this sense, the Way of Tea is well described as the Art of Living."
"A later author accounts in 1727 how Oribe broke a Korean bowl deemed too large for the tea ceremony. Having made two cuts at a right angle, he glued the fragments together with red lacquer. [...]Another time, Oribe cut a horizontal calligraphic scroll, too large to hang in his tea room in one piece. The custom spread.[...]Oribe anticipated all that the West would struggle for three centuries later. He was the first voice of an intellectual challenging the establishment taste for orderliness."