Baroque and Beyond C. 1600–1850

Asian Art

What is a tea ceremony?

The traditional tea ceremony began in China, but became extremely popular in Japan, especially during the Momoyama period (1573–1615). The tea ceremony was known as chanoyu, which literally translates to “hot water for tea.” These ceremonies were held in the tea houses, or chashitsu, of castles and palaces made of simple materials such as unfinished bamboo. The Japanese tea ceremony is very quiet and can last as long as four hours. Rules dictating movement and speech are linked to the purposeful actions of Buddhist meditation. In a way, the tea ceremony is like theater, or performed poetry, in which social etiquette is elevated to religious ritual and participants are immersed in thoughts of social harmony, humility, peace with nature, and a distance from the artificiality of the material world.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Art History Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App