Activation of All Six Senses During a Tea-occasion.

As, during a service of Tea, you will be regaled with a hand-crafted moist sweetmeat, an ample portion of thick tea and, finally, your individual bowlful of thin tea, that your sense of taste becomes activated goes without saying.

Again, that you have before you within the display-alcove that is the focus of any Tea-chamber at least a calligraphic hanging scroll, and a modest arrangement of native flora offered within an interesting flower-vessel, and, upon the utensil matting-segment, unique utensils severally fashioned from iron, bronze, pure black lacquer, ceramic ware or Japanese bamboo, all obviously invites a response to stimulus for the eye.

What may be less obvious, however, are appeals to the remaining three senses.

The building within which we conduct our Workshops has been created only recently, and by employing the very finest paulownia timber, which exudes a fragrance all of its own. Moreover, from within the floor-brazier that is employed in order to heat the hot water for your tea, an oleaginous combination of incense-woods will be gradually releasing a faintly-opulent blend of scents.

In further addition, once your host begins to blend your shared bowl of thick tea, the aroma of that tea will drift towards you, promising a surprise for your sense of taste, and further satisfaction.

 

Easiest to miss, however, are subtle appeals to the sense of hearing. In this geisha-quarter, and at this hour of the day, distant, plangent notes plucked upon the three-stringed shamisen may drift into this chamber.

More audible will be the sounds set up by your host’s handling of both hot water and cold – the former seething in the cauldron before you, the latter poured twice into that cauldron, as swell as twice into the principal tea-bowl – and the leisurely resonance created by hot water being scooped up and returned to the cauldron, so as to even up the water-temperature within that vessel.

And we should also like you to miss neither the tiny sound of bamboo tapping pottery nor the abrupt impact of a sliding door being closed against its jamb, used as a signal to those serving behind the scenes.

Finally, you will be invited to take into your own hands the most essential utensils that have been chosen to delight you today. Doing this not only further pleases – we hope – the eye; it is the sense of touch activated by ceramic texture, and your sense of pressure, as stimulated by the weight of what you handle, that play crucial roles in serious appreciation of objects worthy of such – as we hope to be offering you too, during our Workshop.

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