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Chaji may last for several hours and during this time guests have the opportunity to taste thick koicha tea and light usucha tea, as well as to refresh themselves with a light dish or to taste sweets. All the elements are chosen specifically for such a meeting. In terms of form and motif, utensils should match the season and the occasion. Even the dishes reflect the seasonal characteristics of nature. When speaking about uniqueness of each chaji, the Japanese use a phrase ichigo ichie, meaning: the only meeting like this in life, and the cultivation of this lifestyle is called the Tea Way.

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People who live in the fast lane need peace and quiet now and then. Sometimes, they may not even be aware of this and may claim that they do not have time for a even a brief respite. However, occasionally, they may visit peaceful places so as to organise their thoughts and get some distance from their daily lives. A tea room may be one such place. There, a host can prepare a bowl of green tea for them. Tea can be a part of ceremonial meetings honouring exceptional events (weddings, births), meetings organised on the occasion of the New Year, blossoming cherry trees or the first snow, as well as a part of spontaneous and private meetings with your circle of friends.
Although all those meetings – chaji – require knowledge of etiquette from their host and guests, at the same time, they allow for the admiring of the beauty of utensils used, as well as the precision and elegance of the gestures of the person preparing the tea. Chaji may last for several hours and during this time guests have the opportunity to taste thick koicha tea and light usucha tea, as well as to refresh themselves with a light dish or to taste sweets. All the elements are chosen specifically for such a meeting. In terms of form and motif, utensils should match the season and the occasion. Even the dishes reflect the seasonal characteristics of nature.
When speaking about uniqueness of each chaji, the Japanese use a phrase ichigo ichie, meaning: the only meeting like this in life, and the cultivation of this lifestyle is called the Tea Way. This lifestyle is connected with the practice of brewing tea, originating from China and developed in Japan during the 15th and 16th centuries. The greatest tea masters, Murata Suko (1433–1481), Takeno Jōō (1502–1555) and Sen Rikyū (1522–1591), turned the process of preparing tea into an art, and they unified the rules of tea meetings by creating a coherent system call the Tea Way, which is still taught in Japan, in the three main schools (Urasenke, Omotesenke, Mushakōjisenke) and many others, as well as in branches located throughout the whole world. In Poland, there are two branches of the Urasenke school, which opened in Kraków and Warsaw in 2007.
Since its inception, the Manggha Museum has had contact with chadō masters. In the beginning, this exceptional tea was prepared by Satoko Fujita, and at present, it is made by Etsuko Yamaguchi, both of the Urasenke school. The presented set in the Manggha Museum collection is a memento of Master Fujita, who gave the set to her Polish friend, and she, in turn, donated it to the Manggha Museum collection a few years later. From May to the end of October, a tea pot called kama is placed on a portable hearth called furo. During the winter months, it is placed on a floor hearth called ro. Kama is used for boiling water, although the tea is only made after the water has cooled down a bit. The tea is served from a bamboo ladle called hishaku. Powdered green tea called matcha is always used when preparing the beverage. It is poured into a bowl with a small bamboo spoon called chashaku, and once the tea has been mixed with water, it is stirred with a bamboo whisk called chasen. Usucha powdered tea is presented in a box covered with lacquer called natsume. Koichawa tea is stored in a ceramic container – chaire – with an ivory bung, kept in a case made from a valuable fabric, e.g. a brocade cloth. Once the tea has been drunk by guests, the bowl is returned to the host who then rinses it with water. At the end of the meeting, some water is poured into a bowl from a vessel called mizusashi, and it is a symbolic ending of the brewing process.
Simplicity is the idea that pervades the Tea Way. It consists of four main principles: wa [和]), kei [敬], sei [清], jaku [寂], which indicate the harmony between people and nature, respect for the environment, integrity of the heart, order as well as inner peace being the result of practicing the remaining rules. Simplicity also manifests itself in the wabi aesthetics. According to its principles, beauty may be found in every object, even in an ordinary bowl of rice.

Sen Rikyū has described the process of practising chadō in the following words:

Boil water,
make tea,
and drink it.

You don't need to know more.

*The presented set includes: a kama tea pot with a portable furo hearth, a mizusashi vessel for cold water, a hishaku ladle, a futaoki mat, a natsume container for powdered tea, a chawan bowl with a chashaku spoon, as well as a chasen whisk. Japan, the 20th century

Kama tea pot

Creator: unknown
Date of production: 20th century?
Place of production: Japan
Dimensions: tea pot: height = 20 cm, diameter = 20.8 cm; lid: height = 4 cm, diameter = 10.6 cm
Inventory number: MSITJM0869ab
Material: cast iron
Date acquired: donated by Małgorzata Dutka in 2007

Furo hearth

Creator: unknown
Date of production: 20th century
Place of production: Japan
Date acquired: donated by Małgorzata Dutka in 2007

Mizusashi vessel for cold water

Creator: unknown
Date of production: 20th century
Place of production: Japan
Dimensions: vessel: height = 16.5 cm, diameter = 16.2 cm; lid — height = 2 cm, diameter = 14.6 cm
Inventory number: MSITJM0868ab
Technique: glazing, decorations imprinted from mould
Material: stoneware
Date acquired: donated by Małgorzata Dutka in 2007

Hishaku ladle

Creator: unknown
Date of production: 20th century
Place of production: Japan
Dimensions: length = 42 cm, width = 5.6 cm
Inventory number: MSITJM0384
Material: bamboo
Date acquired: donated by Małgorzata Dutka in 2007

Futaoki mat with a bull motif

Creator: unknown
Date of production: 20th century
Place of production: Japan
Dimensions: height = 5 cm, diameter = 5.5 cm
Inventory number: MSITJM0380
Material: ceramics, gold
Date acquired: donated by Małgorzata Dutka in 2007

Natsume container for powdered tea with a bamboo motif

Creator: unknown
Date of production: 20th century
Place of production: Japan
Dimensions: height = 6.5 cm, diameter = 6.5 cm
Inventory number: MSITJM0383ab
Material: black lacquer, gold
Date acquired: donated by Małgorzata Dutka in 2007

Chawan bowl

Creator: Sadato Ichinose
Date of production: 2002
Place of production: Japan
Inventory number: MSITJM0877
Technique: yōhen baking
Material: stoneware
Date acquired: donated by Sadata Ichinose in 2002

Chashaku tea spoon 

Creator: unknown
Date of production: 20th century
Place of production: Japan
Inventory number: MSITJM0387
Technique: bending
Material: bamboo
Date acquired: donated by Małgorzata Dutka in 2007

Chasen whisk

Creator: unknown
Date of production: 20th century
Place of production: Japan
Dimensions: height = 11.2 cm, diameter = 6 cm
Inventory number: MSITJM0381
Material: bamboo, cotton thread
Date acquired: donated by Małgorzata Dutka in 2007

Elaborated by Aleksandra Görlich (The Manggha Centre of Japanese Art and Technology), editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums, © all rights reserved

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Tea — a nasty poison or a healthy drink?

It is difficult to say with certainty when the Polish first encountered tea. Herba the, which means “the tea herb”, probably came to Poland in the 2nd half of the 17th century, and was undoubtedly known in the 18th century already, even though it has never been as popular as coffee.

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It is difficult to say with certainty when the Polish first encountered tea. Herba the, which means “the tea herb”, probably came to Poland in the 2nd half of the 17th century, and was undoubtedly known in the 18th century already, even though it has never been as popular as coffee. Even during the reign of King Stanisław August, the new drink was mainly imbibed by the progressive aristocracy, while people holding more traditional views considered it a hideous and harmful stimulant. Incidentally, they perceived the more popular coffee in a similar way. The unflattering opinion of tea was expressed, among others, by Father Krzysztof Kluk, who was active during the reign of Stanisław August and was of opinion that:

“if China sent us all its poisons, they would not be able to harm us as much as with its tea. It may be that in some cases it is useful, but the frequent use of this warm water weakens the nerves, the digestive organs and their juices, and excessively thins the stool. It is always harmful to children and young people. If the leaves have some efficiency, it is probably not so exceptional that none of the domestic plants could be found which would equal them, and maybe even surpass them”.

It is not true, however, that tea did not earn any recognition in Poland. Tomasz Ormiński, PhD wrote about the infusion of leaves, saying that: “it takes sleepiness away without harm, which is why the merchants who have a lot to write at night, drink Thee in Venice; it benefits the stomach a lot; even I tried a little bit of this herb, but I find coffee more agreeable”.

See:
Tea container
“Hiratemae” imperial tea set used during the summer season
“Hanaire” flower vase used to decorate tea ceremonies
Teapot with lid

Elaborated by Adam Spodaryk (Editorial team of Małopolska’s Virtual Museums),

Licencja Creative Commons

 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

 

Bibliography:
Aleksander Brückner, Encyklopedia staropolska, t. 1, Warszawa 1939, p. 435–436.
Zygmunt Gloger, Encyklopedia staropolska, t. 2, Warszawa 1901, p. 246.

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“Hiratemae” imperial tea set used during the summer season

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