The Book of Tea

Overview

For a generation adjusting painfully to the demands of a modern industrial and commercial society, Asia came to represent an alternative vision of the good life: aesthetically austere, socially aristocratic, and imbued with spirituality. The Book of Tea was originally written in English and sought to address the inchoate yearnings of disaffected Westerners. In a flash of inspiration, Okakura saw that the formal tea party as practiced in New England was a distant cousin of the Japanese tea ceremony, and that East ...

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The Book of Tea

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Overview

For a generation adjusting painfully to the demands of a modern industrial and commercial society, Asia came to represent an alternative vision of the good life: aesthetically austere, socially aristocratic, and imbued with spirituality. The Book of Tea was originally written in English and sought to address the inchoate yearnings of disaffected Westerners. In a flash of inspiration, Okakura saw that the formal tea party as practiced in New England was a distant cousin of the Japanese tea ceremony, and that East and West had thus "met in the tea-cup."

A magnificent attempt to make understandable, through the tea ceremony, the essence of Japanese culture.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Kakuzo was a leading figure in Japanese art and culture at the end of the 19th century, and this book, first published in 1906, is a classic treatise explicating the philosophical nuances of tea and the tea ceremony in Japanese culture. This edition contains an introduction by Liza Dalby who was the first American trained as a Geisha in the 1970s, and elegant photos by Daniel Proctor. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780141191843
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/28/2010
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 1,443,005
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Japanese scholar, writer and art curator Kakuzo Okakura (1862-1913), who spent years writing about Japanese art and culture, was one of the principal founders of the first Japanese fine arts academy. He traveled to Boston in the early 1900's, where he became the first head of the Asian Arts Division at the Museum of Fine Arts. He was friends with influential figures of the day, including art collector Isabella Stewart Gardner, poet Ezra Pound, and philosopher Martin Heidegger.

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Table of Contents


The Cup of Humanity     1
Tea ennobled into Teaism, a religion of aestheticism, the adoration of the beautiful among everyday facts
Teaism developed among both nobles and peasants
The mutual misunderstanding of the New World and the Old
The Worship of Tea in the West
Early records of Tea in European writing
The Taoists' version of the combat between Spirit and Matter
The modern struggle for wealth and power
The Schools of Tea     17
The three stages of the evolution of Tea
The Boiled Tea, the Whipped Tea, and the Steeped Tea, representative of the Tang, the Sung, and the Ming dynasties of China
Luwuh, the first apostle of Tea
The Tea-ideals of the three dynasties
To the latter-day Chinese Tea is a delicious beverage, but not an ideal
In Japan Tea is a religion of the art of life
Taoism and Zennism     33
The connection of Zennism with Tea
Taoism, and its successor Zennism, represent the individualistic trend of the Southern Chinese mind
Taoism accepts the mundane and tries to find beauty in our world of woe and worry
Zennism emphasizes the teachings of Taoism
Through consecrated meditation may be attained supreme self-realisation
Zennism, like Taoism, is the worship of Relativity
Ideal of Teaism a result of the Zen conception of greatness in the smallest incidents of life
Taoism furnished the basis for aesthetic ideals, Zennism made them practical
The Tea-Room     51
The tea-room does not pretend to be other than a mere cottage
The simplicity and purism of the tea-room
Symbolism in the construction of thetea-room
The system of its decoration
A sanctuary from the vexations of the outer world
Art Appreciation     73
Sympathetic communion of minds necessary for art appreciation
The secret understanding between the master and ourselves
The value of suggestion
Art is of value only to the extent that it speaks to us
No real feeling in much of the apparent enthusiasm to-day
Confusion of art with archaeology
We are destroying art in destroying the beautiful in life
Flowers     87
Flowers our constant friends
The Master of Flowers
The waste of Flowers among Western communities
The art of floriculture in the East
The Tea-Masters and the Cult of Flowers
The Art of Flower Arrangement
The adoration of the Flower for its own sake
The Flower-Masters
Two main branches of the schools of Flower Arrangement, the Formalistic and the Naturalesque
Tea-Masters     107
Real appreciation of art only possible to those who make of it a living influence
Contributions of the Tea-Masters to art
Their influence on the conduct of life
The Last Tea of Rikiu
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2006

    ouch,

    There are some people who just like all things Eastern as if it was a fad and they will enjoy this book. But I found that a pompous and resentful arrogance pervades this book. The outspokenness and cynicism takes refuge in the cryptic symbolic meanings in the Tea process that goutsiders don ft understand. h Rather than simply explaining the wonderful intricacies of wabi-sabi and tea the book seems almost angry and a little threatened by the un-indoctrinated. It is staunchly anti-western myopically focusing on the most extreme examples of consumerism and decoration. It makes Teaism appear cult like and a smug past time for the OCD than a microcosm of life ca living allegory of historic and philosophic principles for aesthetics and Taoist/Zen concepts. Artistic taste after all is subjective yet I observed a lot of value judgments here as to what is wonderful and what is a tragedy in art. However the book is written with a colorful poetic tone and has revealing insights into art forms and their effects of people such as Majestic art to make you feel small, vs. simple art to make one feel simple, clam, and just being. There is an interesting brief history of tea and its importance in countries around the world. There was a tantrum about cutting flowers that perhaps I failed to grasp but came across more over like a childish personal sympathy than anything meaningful. I learned from this book regardless of how much of it I disregarded. So I recommend it with a grain of salt. It missed the real meaning of the Tea process, for a book calling itself THE book of Tea.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2012

    Awesome book, much more in this than just a book about tea. It r

    Awesome book, much more in this than just a book about tea. It reveals a great deal about ancient Japanese culture and customs.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2011

    Poor digital conversion

    This edition was converted using OCR without any editing. Many letters are confused with special characters or similar looking letters or letter combinations. I do not recommend this version at all. It is very difficult to read. I expected a better edition from B&N.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2012

    I'm glad it was just a sample.

    Boring.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2012

    Five Stars!

    Five Stars!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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