(141) 三ツ釘皆竹にも両脇折釘にもすへし [In the case of three hooks¹, they may all be bamboo, or the two on the ends may be bent (metal) hooks.]
According to Lord Sakon², the middle (hook) should be of bamboo, while those on the two sides should be bent (metal) hooks³.
¹These hooks are for hanging scrolls in the tokonoma. Either a set of three scrolls which are to be hung together, or a single, very wide scroll (such as many of the continental bokuseki of hōgo [法語, literally “speaking about the Law”], Buddhist admonitions, injunctions, or instructions).
²Kuwayama Sakon Sōsen (1560-1632), a younger contemporary and disciple of Sen no Dōan.
³In ancient times when it was rare for most tea practitioners to have more than one, or maybe two, scrolls (or, in the case of three scrolls, only this complete set, and maybe also another writing), the particulars of the tokonoma, including its orientation (kami-za doko [上座床] or hon-doko [本床], located on the guests’ right, versus the shita-za doko [下坐床], located on their left) and the placement of hook or hooks was fixed (and thus all three were usually of bamboo — metal hooks, in the humid atmosphere of Japan, can oxidize and stain or discolor the kake-o of the scroll, especially when that scroll is being used frequently). However, as the number of utensils began to become concentrated in the hands of a shrinking population of tea men (a phenomenon which reached its peak in the early sixteenth century), then the possibility of having several to many scrolls often demanding quite different arrangements had to be addressed, and so the use of sliding metal hooks on the two sides came into fashion.
In this case, bamboo hooks, which are nailed into the wall, are fixed in place and immobile (reorienting their position would demand that the wall — and possibly the whole room, since the mud-plaster changes color as it ages — be re-plastered). The metal hooks, however, are attached to the wall (or, usually, the ceiling) of the tokonoma by means of a kind of track, so they can slide back and forth horizontally, thus allowing the host to change the distance between the two outer hooks and the central hook (which always should be a bamboo peg, even when the others are made of bent metal).
(142) 三ツ釘[乃]間墨跡によるべし [The spacing of the three hooks depends on the bokuseki.]
The kake-o is suspended from all three in the shape of a mountain (as has been mentioned before, the central hook is generally slightly higher than the two on the sides, hence the effect really does resemble a mountain with three peaks). Kenshin comments that it is proper for first the central section to be hung, and then the kake-o on the two sides are raised to their hooks¹ (first on the side where the writing begins, and then on the side where it ends).
However (he continues), depending on the occasion, it might also be possible for the scroll to be suspended only from the two hooks on the sides (in this case, after being hung from all three hooks, the central one is disengaged)². Nevertheless, in ancient times, it was considered correct for the scroll to be always hung from all three hooks on every occasion.
¹The scroll is hung using a notched bamboo cane (whereas a folded fan was sometimes used, it is completely impractical to do so in this instance). Holding the cane in the right hand, and supporting the partly unrolled scroll with the left, the central section of the kake-o is lifted up onto its hook. Then the notched bamboo is disengaged and used to lift the kake-o first to the side hook on one side, and then on the other.
The use of a fan to hang a scroll is actually an expedient. This was originally done (only) when a scroll was placed on the floor of the tokonoma, to display the gedai to the guests. Afterward, the host usually came out to hang the scroll with the bamboo pole as usual. However, occasionally when one of the guests was a seasoned master, he might take it into his mind to save the host the trouble and hang the scroll for him (in the same way that Tsuda Sōkyu added the charcoal to the fire while Rikyū was busy changing the water in the kama on the occasion of that famous snowy-dawn impromptu chakai). Since the bamboo pole is not usually present in the room (the host brings it out from the katte when needed, and takes it back with him when he leaves), the guest’s folding fan was used to extend the length of his arm, so that the scroll could be hung while he stayed in a seated position on the floor of the tokonoma. In ancient times, this was never a planned practice (since in that case, the bamboo cane could have been hung in anticipation from the hook on the toko-bashira); rather, it represents a case where, having satisfied themselves with the gedai, the guests were unable to resist hanging the scroll by themselves, so as to be able to admire it for just that much longer. (It must be added that their attitude is also a way of showing deep respect and esteem for the scroll, as the “shadow” of the person who painted it.)
²Disengaging the kake-o from the central hook allows the scroll to hang a little lower in the tokonoma, which, particularly at a night gathering, in a tokonoma with a high ceiling, would allow the scroll to hang a little closer to the light, making it easier to see and read.
The concluding statement — that, in ancient times, all three hooks were always supposed to be used — looks back to the days when the tokonoma was constructed specifically in order to hang the scroll, thus the question of a vertically short scroll being hung too high to be read comfortably would never have occurred. As Rikyū says in the Nampō Roku, “if the scroll is a horizontal composition, so that it may better fill the space the ceiling of the tokonoma should be lowered.”
(143) 袋床乃事 [Concerning the fukuro-toko.]
A fukuro-toko (“bag” tokonoma) has a front aperture that is smaller than the actual width tokonoma (by the addition of a sode-kabe which obscures part of the front opening). In his comments on this line, Kenshin attempts to qualify the particulars of the construction, since the defining elements were often confused by tea-men even in his day.
Kenshin writes that the ceiling of the fukuro-toko is made of boards, and the side walls are plastered all around (so that no posts are visible); and in front there is a sode-kabe (to make the aperture smaller). In contrast, the hora-doko has both the walls and the ceiling plastered. This latter is also called the muro-toko [室床].
However (he continues), in an old book on carpentry we find the matter explained like this: when both the walls and the ceiling are plastered over, this is what is known as a hora-toko. Regardless of whether or not it has a sode-kabe in front, a tokonoma should be called a hora-toko if the walls and ceiling are all plastered over. When a sode-kabe is installed (to make the aperture in front smaller), this is called a fukuro-toko; when the ceiling is of (unplastered) boards but the walls are plastered all around, this is called a nuri-mawashi-toko [塗り廻し床]².
¹A well-known example of the fukuro-toko was in the Kanden-an tearoom (a 1-mat daime room with sode-kabe and a fukuro-toko) that was built by Matsudaira Fumai in Matsue. It is no longer in existance.
²Nuri [塗り] means painted-on, and refers, in this case, to the painting of kabe [mud-plaster] onto the boards. It does not refer to lacquer in this case.
(144) 腰はりの事 [Concerning the koshi-bari.]
In the sukiya, Kenshin writes, the mat on which tea is made is pasted around with waste paper turned so that the writing is toward the wall. The rest of the room is pasted round with Minato paper¹ that has the finished side turned toward the plaster as well.
He continues, in the past, perhaps due to a certain understanding of wabi, only the wall beside the utensil mat was papered, but there is really no reasoning behind this way of doing things. As for this idea, the walls are actually all the same, so for only one part of them to be treated differently is a mistake. The feeling of wabi should be the cumulative effect of everything. But the cause of this impression, however, should be that when we are inspecting something, yet we do not notice anything at all², then the path has already been diverged from. With respect to wabi, everything should be expressive of wabi: I wish to bestow on you this understanding.
¹This is a low-quality variety of tori-no-ko paper (a paper with a hard, eggshell-like color and surface-texture on the front side, used since the Kamakura period for papering walls — in this case, however, the finished side is that which is turned toward the wall so that the coarser, matt side is visible in the tearoom), originally produced in the Minato-mura section of Sakai. While several of the commentators discuss the height and other aspects of the koshi-bari*, Kenshin himself seems totally disinterested in these sorts of particulars, preferring to digress in the direction of a discussion of the meaning of wabi.
*According to these commentators, for papering the bottom of the wall around the utensil mat the width is 9-sun, or else the standard width for rolls of writing paper, which may be papered over twice if the waste-paper is particularly thin (this also makes the writing less legible); 1-shaku 8-sun, or up to 2-shaku, for that pasted behind the guests’ seats (for this latter, they add, the host may use ao-kami [青紙] or ai-kami [藍紙], paper dyed a grayish-blue-green or the rather dull natural indigo — a preference dating from the Edo period on because these darkly dyed papers are less inclined to look dirty before the paper needs to be replaced, than the off-white Minato-kami often does).
²In other words, when we look at something and notice that nothing has been done — such as that the mud-plaster on this or that wall has not been papered over — the apparent oversight is already a divergence from the meaning of wabi. It is in accordance with the concept of wabi that paper should be applied to the wall only where necessary — at the lower edge, so that should the guest lean against it, his clothes will not be soiled by the mud-plaster. Papering where it is not strictly necessary is extravagant; but applying no paper to places where it is needed, however, is negligent and (in this instance) potentially disrespectful (to the guests) as well.
In this specific case, the application of the koshi-bari is in full accord with the teachings of wabi, as is the practice of using Minato paper for the koshi-bari and waste writing-paper for the walls surrounding the utensil mat: the heavier wall-paper is applied (albeit back-side-outward) to the wall where there is the possibility that the guests will lean back against the wall, while used writing paper (which is much thinner) covers the wall near the utensil mat (where the idea was primarily to prevent splashes of water from discoloring the plaster, while simultaneously providing a light background that helps to make the actions undertaken on the utensil mat more easily seen).
As for the wabi of the “small”* room versus the superfluity of the shoin room, we should perhaps try to think of things in the following way. The shoin room is all about display for the sake of display (the decoration of the tsuke-shoin, or built-in writing desk, and chigai-dana, being a case in point: why, when the purpose of the assembly is the serving and drinking tea, are this desk and shelf appointed with exquisite writing implements, rare books, and other artifacts, none of which will be used by anyone at all during the course of the gathering — other than for the pleasure which viewing these things will give to the eye of the beholder?). While, on the other hand, the wabi “small” room is entirely focused on necessity (according to Rikyū, nothing should ever be placed out in the wabi room that is not absolutely indispensable to the serving of tea — the scroll and flowers being as necessary, in his opinon, as the chawan, kama, and other utensils — yet nothing that is needed should ever be eliminated from the utensils arranged there, other than the one or two things which the host can carry into the room with him when he enters, and remove with him at the end of the gathering when he leaves; yet he should not have to make two trips to carry these things at either time). So, wabi means a fully-functional minimalism, and it necessarily follows that one should never try to reduce this minimum even further, to the point where functionality is lost. This is the point of Kenshin’s final remarks.
*According to Hisada Sōya, in his book “Rikyū: Wabi-cha no Sekai,” the word kō, [小] “small” was, during Rikyū’s period, used as a hentai-gana [変体仮名: a simple or cursive form of a kanji used phonetically to suggest some other word] for kō [高], an abbreviation for kōrai [高麗], or Korea/Korean-style, and not actually connected with the size of the room at all — though the minimalism inherent in the concept of wabi certainly encourages the use of rooms that are no larger than absolutely necessary. The Hisada family is (and always has been) the only living line that biologically derives from Rikyū himself — through his cherished daughter, who was also acknowledged as an accomplished practitioner of chanoyu in her father’s style, considered second only to Dōan by many of their contemporaries, though the fact that she was a woman immediately precluded her from any public prominence — and they preserve teachings, techniques, and intimate family history known nowhere else. It was in this context that Hisada Sōya undertook to publish the above-cited book — though the argument regarding kō [小] being a hentai-gana for kō [高], as an abbreviation of the word kōrai [高麗], can also be found in the Kōshin Ge-gaki [江岑夏書], written by Sōtan’s second son (the first son of his second wife, and the progenitor of the Omotesenke line) Kōshin Sōsa, in his old age. The pretext, in his case, being to set down those teachings which he had found to be “generally unknown” among the practitioners of chanoyu in the early Edo period “so these things would not be lost” to future generations: curiously, this unprecedented outburst of recollections (if that is what they are), many of heretofore never-mentioned details and anecdotes — a number of which directly contradict Shōan’s and Sōtan’s own supposedly “first hand” knowledge of these things (assuming, of course, that they were really as intimate with Rikyū as was claimed; though many of the stories in the Kōshin Ge-gaki definitely suggest otherwise) — occurred after the Hisada house had been drawn under the Omotesenke umbrella through the marriage of their heir to Sōtan’s daughter (a point, by the way, whose implications were not lost on Hisada Sōya when he decided to put pen to paper).
(145) 懸灯台[乃]事 [Concerning the hanging lamp.]
This line refers to a kake-tōdai [掛灯台], or hanging oil-lamp, to give illumination to the tokonoma. It may also be hung on one of the pillars in a very small room (near the ro during the shō-za; and either on the toko-bashira, the mu-so-kugi, or on the bokuseki-mado, as explained here, during the go-za), where it takes the place of the tankei or zashiki-andon (there is insufficient space in a two-mat or smaller room for a tankei or andon to be set out on the floor, since in addition to its likely getting in the way, the bodies of the guests will be too close and so prevent the lamp from illuminating the room properly; by hanging the light source, it prevents clutter on the floor, and raises the light above the guests). In his comments, Kenshin refers primarily to the latter situation where the kake-tōdai is hung in the tokonoma (thus his comments are generally applicable, both to an ordinary tearoom and in the wabi small room).
Kenshin writes, the hook on the toko-bashira was from the beginning the hook for hanging an oil lamp. It was usually nailed 4-shaku, or 4-shaku 1-sun above the ji-shiki-i [地敷居]². The reason is because, from this height, the shadow of a flower in a vase on an usu-ita will not be apparent³. It is also possible for a hanging flower-vase to be suspended from this hook on occasion.
It is also possible for the hook for the kake-tōdai to be attached to the window in the tokonoma⁴. Generally one or more places where several of the reed or bamboo lathes overlap in a cross shape is present in such windows⁵, and it is from this kind of place that the lamp (or flower container) should be suspended. As this sort of reinforced cross-shaped pattern may occur in more than one place in the window, the host should use the one from which the light will cast the shadow of the flowers wholly on the usu-ita (the same consideration that Kenshin voiced above, with respect to a kake-tōdai suspended on the toko-bashira). The flower-container may, depending on occasion (that is, when the hook is not being used for the lamp, such as during the daytime), be hung from this hook as well.
Usually a kake-shōji [掛け障子], or paper window-cover (suspended on hooks by two screw-eyes attached to the top of the panel) is hung on the shita-ji mado. When a shōji is hung on the inside, then a sudare [簾], reed-blind, is hung on the outside. However, when a sudare is hung on the inside, then the shōji should be hung on the outside⁶.
¹As mentioned in a previous post, the kake-tōdai can also be hung from the mu-sō-kugi [無双釘] (or from a plain wooden sui-bachi [木地垂撥] suspended from the bamboo hook used to hang the scroll during the shō-za, if it is necessary to change the elevation of the lamp due to the circumstances) in the middle of the back wall of the tokonoma: in which case it is poetically referred to as tō-ka [燈華, 灯花], “the flower of the lamp.” Kenshin does not mention this possibility in his comments, however; the tō-ka was traditionally one of the most closely guarded of the secret practices of chanoyu, and this may account for his silence.
²The surface of the mats that cover the floor of the room.
³The usu-ita is usually painted with black lacquer, hence a shadow cast only on the usu-ita will not be noticeable. Shadows, to the East Asian peoples, are suggestive of ghosts (the same association between shadows and ghosts is also found in the Latin language).
⁴The bokuseki-mado [墨跡窓], originally made in the wall outside of the tokonoma (as can be seen in the Tai-an — the small window just outside of the tokonoma with a hanging paper cover is the bokuseki-mado) to give light to the hanging scroll (bokuseki scrolls are usually written with small characters that generally require a lot of light to read), is always shita-ji mado [下地窓], a window opening made by simply leaving an appropriately sized rectangle (or other shape) of the internal lathwork unplastered. Oribe was the first to make this window in the side wall of the tokonoma itself. He considered that suspending the lamp here at night gatherings would give a more “natural” sort of illumination to the scroll or flowers displayed in the tokonoma as well, since the light will be coming from the same direction and height as the natural daylight which the room was designed to receive — the attitude of carefully designing the room and tokonoma for specific utensils still being very prevalent in his day. (Oribe also reasoned that hanging the flower-container here would, likewise, make the flower appear more natural — as if a flower growing in the ground outside was simply leaning in through the window. Oribe also preferred to hang very large Shigaraki and Iga-ware containers — as large as many free-standing vases — that were quite heavy when filled with water, hence the hook should be attached at a well-reinforced place, usually included in the window for just this purpose).
*Shita-ji mado, unlike other types of windows, are always for both ventilation and illumination. The bokuseki-mado both provides illumination to the tokonoma and allows fresh air to enter the room in proximity to the guests’ seats so they will not be made uncomfortable by the gasses emitted by burning charcoal.
⁵For strength, the single horizontal and vertical reed-laths are usually occasionally inter-spaced with groups of two or three parallel reeds tied together tightly with wisteria vine, and where a vertical and a horizontal group of this type overlap, this is the place to which Kenshin says the hook should be affixed, since this area will be strong enough to support the lamp (or a flower-container filled with water) without danger of breaking.
⁶When the kake-tōdai is hung on the bokuseki-mado, the shōji — or a wooden window-cover — is hung on the outside so that the wind will not blow out the flame, or cause it to dance (casting unsettling shadows in the tokonoma).
(146) 茶箱は坐敷き[へ]出すものゝ事 [The matter of bringing the chabako into the tearoom.]
As in the Nampō Roku, this line refers to what is now usually call the satsū-bako [茶通箱]. While these boxes always came in sizes sufficient to hold one (hitotsu-ire [一ツ入]), two (futatsu-ire [二ツ入]), or even three containers (mitsu-ire [三ツ入]) of matcha¹, the box which holds two containers of tea was the most common (since it afforded sufficient tea to host a gathering in the formal style, with the host preparing both koicha and usucha using different varieties of tea).
The box, according to the commentary, is 3-sun 9-bu high, 3-sun 2-bu wide, and 5-sun 7-bu long, and the lid (which fits onto the bottom like the lid on a shoe-box) is 9-bu deep. The following additional information is given regarding the cha-bako: (1) it is made of shima-kiri [嶋霧], “island” paulownia wood (this shima [嶋] is a hentai-gana often employed in the tea world for shima [縞], which means “striped” — that is high-quality paulownia wood with a straight, parallel grain); (2) it has a yarō-buta [薬籠蓋], a lid rather like that of a shoe-box (this kind of lid keeps the contents especially clean since dust can not infiltrate through the point where the lid contacts the body of the box — the name means a medicine-box lid, for which it was used precisely for this reason); (3) it is made of unpainted wood (however, sometimes the cha-bako is rubbed with the oil of the walnut)²; (4) the lid is 9-bu deep, but the top (because it is slightly rounded) is a little higher than at the sides; (5) the edges and corners are rounded; (6) the wood used is 1-bu and a half thick.
Kenshin continues, two containers of tea of different varieties are placed in the cha-bako, which may then be displayed on the shelf in the tearoom, or placed in the dōko, and opened during the temae. There are oral traditions (wholly dealing with the manner in which the box, which was supposed to be sealed with a paper tape bearing the seal of the sender, is to be cut open — perhaps deliberately paralleling the way in which the large jar of leaf-tea was cut open during the kuchi-kiri gathering: these are fully covered in the Nampō Roku, and briefly summarized in my notes, below) with which one should become completely familiar. Various circulated writings (Kenshin concludes) cover this material fully.
¹There were only three possibilities in ancient times: hatsu-no-mukashi koicha [初昔濃茶], picked during the ten days prior to the Memorial Day of the Bodhisattva Yakushi, the “Medicine Buddha” (on the 88th day of the Lunar year, which is usually at the very end of April); ato-no-mukashi koicha [後昔濃茶], picked during the ten days following the festival; and the mixed inferior-grade packing leaves that were sometimes ground for usucha (originally a wabi practice of the “waste not want not” variety). One leaf-tea jar generally contained a sealed paper bag of each kind of koicha, packed around by inferior-grade (usucha) leaves*.
Matcha was ceremonially offered to the Buddha on the Memorial Day of Yakushi, and so this kind of tea has from the earliest days (when it was considered the king of medicines) been intimately associated with Yakushi. In the original temple setting, the daisu was set up in front of the image of Yakushi (to partake of his special blessing), which is placed to the Buddha’s left (thus, on the right side from the spectator’s point of view), and this is why the original tearooms were made with the guests seated to the host’s left (in the temple setting, the congregation was mostly seated to the left of the daisu, on the opposite side of the Buddha image from Yakushi, and behind the monks who were changing prayers).
Originally the box contained only the tea sent to the chajin as a gift, packed in a plain black-lacquered natsume or a small-sized fubuki (the natsume being used like a kō-tsubo — the tea is pulled out over the rim — while the fubuki was used like a katatsuki — i.e., the tea is scooped out), and sealed with a paper tape, and the ku-den [口伝], oral traditions, are exclusively related to this practice**. From some point early in the Edo period, however, the situation evolved to where one lacquered chaki contining the gift tea was removed from its original box and placed into a futatsu-ire satsū-bako together with the chaire containing the koicha prepared by the host (thus there was no paper tape to cut, and so forth), and so the temae, as it has come down to us, changed into a minor variation on the ordinary service of two varieties of koicha during the same temae.
*These leaves are there to insulate the high-quality leaves from excessive moisture or smells that might seep in through the walls of the jar: these large jars are not fully glazed, nor entirely water-tight, with the idea being to allow the moisture content within to modulate while the leaves are being aged (freshly processed tea leaves are actually too dry — a problem well-known to anyone who has opened a vacuum-packed can of matcha, only to find it charged with static electricity).
**This is probably why the ku-den are not covered in the commentary. As has probably become apparent to the reader, little of Kenshin’s actual comments remain absolutely untouched. Even when the passage is for the most part chronologically acceptable, there is still evidence — as here — that Kenshin’s words have been tampered with. In this case, the ku-den, no longer being relevant, had for the most part quickly been forgotten: only in pre-Edo sources like the Nampō Roku can these kinds of teachings be found intact (Nambō Sōkei’s language in the Nampō Roku suggests that the teachings were already falling into obscurity in his day, hence his desire to record them for posterity).
As for the forgotten ku-den (and without translating the entire rather long passage from the Nampō Roku here in its entirety), they are related to the way the paper tape sealing the cha-bako is partially severed with a small knife so that when the box is subsequently inspected by the guests only the part of the tape bearing the name-seal of the sender (and a tiny bit of the tape on the opposite side of the box to keep it from falling off) remains intact. (Since Hideyoshi objected to the presence of even a small knife in the tearoom, this practice of cutting open the cha-bako before the eyes of the guests began to fall into disuse even during Rikyū’s lifetime — at least when Hideyoshi was one of the guests.)
After the guests have inspected the cha-bako in this state and returned it to the host, the seal was cut and the box opened. A list of the contents was written on the inside of the lid (which was then passed around to be inspected as well).
Generally the enclosed containers of matcha were each separately tied in miniature purple-dyed furoshiki (the size of the modern temae-fukusa, which derives from the furoshiki made by Rikyū), in the same manner as we tie a natsume or fubuki into a fukusa (this is called tsutsumi-bukusa [包み袱紗], “tied up in a fukusa”) even today. However, the loose corner-flap in front was pierced through with two holes, through which was strung the twisted end of a slip of paper that acted like a label (the name of the enclosed tea was written on the untwisted end). Prior to serving the tea from each container, the host would remove the paper label and pass this to the guests. After this, the host continued the temae as usual.
It was Oribe who first used the little furoshiki as a temae-fukusa during this temae (it is said that this was occasioned by the receipt of a cha-bako of Hideyoshi’s left-over tea from Rikyū while he was in the middle of hosting a gathering, and so he offered to share this tea with his guests as well; but, lacking additional clean fukusa — at that time each new variety of tea had to be served using a brand-new fukusa — he spontaneously folded the furoshiki as if it were a fukusa as he removed it, thus creating the precedent). It was also he who subsequently changed the order of the ordinary temae to reflect this idea as well (arguing that waiting to fold the fukusa until just before it was needed kept it from any possible contamination), so that the fukusa was folded only after the covering (whether it was wrapped in a fukusa, or in an ordinary shifuku) had been removed from the chaki. (Originally, it will be recalled, the fukusa was folded in the katte. and only removed, pre-folded, from the host’s futokoro, when needed; Rikyū began waiting to fold it until after the sō-rei at the beginning of the temae, then immediately inserting it into his futokoro until needed later. After Oribe proposed this change, the fukusa came to be generally folded after the shifuku was removed; and it was only folded earlier in the special case when the chaire was placed on a tray, since the folded fukusa was needed to clean the tray before the chaire’s shifuku was removed.)
²Originally the satsū-bako (because the contents were written on the inside of the lid) was used only once, hence it was made of raw paulownia wood. When the practice became corrupted during the Edo period, this box was no longer used for sending the tea, and so it was reused. In this case, since paulownia wood is easily stained by hand oils, some people rubbed the box all over outside with the relatively scentless walnut oil, to darken the color slightly and thus prevent such stains from being visible.
(147) 軸先軸脇軸本と墨跡にてハ名所替り候事 [With respect to the location of the positions known as jiku-moto, jiku-waki, and jiku-moto, these may be reversed depending on the bokuseki.]
Depending on the way in which the scroll is seen to have been written¹, we can ascertain these positions. Where the writing begins is jiku-saki; the middle is called jiku-waki; and the side of the scroll where the writing ends is known as jiku-moto.
¹Whether it was written from right to left, or left to right.
(148) 壺を飾る㕝利休口覆ひ網なしに被置候 壺を床より所望にておろし様の事 [With respect to the display of the (leaf-tea) jar, Rikyū placed it out with just the (cloth) cover over the lid, but without the net-bag; and the way to removing the jar from the tokonoma at the guests’ request.]
Kenshin writes that putting on both the ami [網]¹, or net-bag, and the kuchi-ōi [口覆], the cloth cover placed over the lid, is quite acceptable; but this should not be done in a room smaller than 4.5 mats².
[A rather small example of the cha-tsubo., showing the jar with and without the ami. Though the tori-o [取緒], the cord which ties on the kuchi-ōi is visible in the right-hand photo, according to Kenshin the ends of this cord actually should be tucked under the folds of the kuchi-ōi. These smaller jars were used by wabi tea men. The jar was packed with only one kind of leaves, often a mixture of hatsu-no-mukashi and ato-no-mukashi koicha.]
When it is displayed in the tokonoma, the tsubo should be placed approximately 21 me back from the front edge of the mat, though, of course, this naturally depends on the (size of the) jar. Then after the first bow has been made, after laying the charcoal has been finished, or even after the kashi have been served and eaten, whenever the guests state their request to inspect the jar the host should go to the front of the tokonoma and move the tsubo forward. Then (after first looking at it in situ), the guests take it down from the tokonoma. The guest should hold the tsubo in his arms³, with the left hand supporting the bottom. If the jar is in its ami, then the knot at the top should be grasped with the right hand. If the jar is not enclosed in its ami, then the shoulder should be temporarily grasped with the right hand while the jar is being lowered from the tokonoma onto the mats of the room. The jar then remains with the guests. Regardless of whether the jar is placed in its ami, or is dressed only in its kuchi-ōi, in the same way it is picked up, held upright, and moved to the right.
The kuchi-ōi is usually present even when the jar is tied inside its ami. If the guests ask to look at the kuchi-ōi and the ami, they should be removed and inspected one by one. If there is a desire to tie the naga-o [長緒] and the chi-o [乳緒]⁴, then each should take his turn in order. However, the chi-o should be left as they are when the jar is put back. When returning the jar, it should be put in the same place where the host moved it forward at the beginning. The ami and kuchi-ōi should be placed beside the jar. It is also possible to leave the jar unadorned (that is, without ami, kuchi-ōi, or decorative cords) when it is replaced in the tokonoma.
Certain people have said, meanwhile, that the jar should be inspected laying on its side⁵.
¹The ami is a bag made of openwork netting. The bag both protects the cha-tsubo and allows the air to reach the jar. Jars for leaf-tea are only partly glazed, and allow an exchange of both air and water vapor through the unglazed part of the pottery. Tea leaves were traditionally picked during the ten days before, and the ten days after the 88th day of the Lunar year, steamed, dried, and then winnowed, before being packed into these jars. Just after processing, the tea is extremely dry. Therefore it is aged in the jars for a number of months before use (this allows the moisture-content of the leaves to become balanced). The net bag allows this exchange without restriction. The kuchi-ōi is a kind of dust-cover that is tied on below the small of the neck to keep the mouth and lid clean during storage. The photo, above, shows a tsubo dressed with both its kuchi-ōi and ami (left), and with only the kuchi-oi (right).
²And this was Rikyū’s point.
³Idaku [抱く], literally to hug or embrace; hold it very carefully (as if it were a tiny baby).
⁴The naga-o [長緒] is a long length of dyed cording that is looped twice around the neck of the jar and then tied into a series of knots proceeding down the front of the jar; the chi-o [乳緒] are two somewhat shorter (and slightly heavier) dyed cords first pushed through the ears on each side, and (in the modern period) then tied into elaborate triangular knots.
⁵This refers to the famous incident, recounted fully in the Nampō Roku, of the Sute-tsubo [捨て壺], or cast-down jar. Briefly, an extremely beautiful jar was owned by the Sakai merchant Kojimaya Dōsatsu, but he refused to display it, questioning whether it was right to show a jar which was as yet nameless (objects without a specific name were considered to be generic representatives, and so unworthy of appreciation). Finally a group of guests came for a gathering, only to refuse to leave the koshi-kake unless Dōsatsu agreed to display the jar. In this dilemma, Dōsatsu took the jar out and put it down on its side near the guests’ entrance, and requested the guests to view it there. From this time onward the jar now had a name — Sute-tsubo, the Cast-Down Jar. Perhaps in a fit of self-deprecation (or perhaps in an effort to be thought “deep” or “unworldly” by their guests), others occasionally imitated Dōsatsu.
(149) 壺の網口覆風帯の事 [Concerning the net bag and (cloth) cover, with respect to the fūtai.]
Fūtai [風帯]¹ here refers to the naga-o and chi-o.
Kenshin writes, the kuchi-ōi should be applied so that the places where it is shortest² are over the ears on the jar, while the four kensaki [剱先], literally the point of a sword (which, Kenshin notes, are actually rounded), project like flaps between the ears see the right photo which accompanies the previous line for a clear view of the front kensaki).
The tori-o [取緒]³, a small braided cord with which the kuchi-ōi is tied in place around the neck of the jar, is doubled and tied on so that it ends in one of the folds in between the kensaki. The rounded end of the doubled cord (called the wa-na [輪奈]) should be on the right, and it is tied with an ordinary overhand knot (in the photo cited above the tori-o has been intentionally left fully exposed so that the ends may be seen).
The length of the chi-o should be long enough that it can be tied around the circumference of the shoulder at its widest point (note that the modern chi-o — and naga-o, as well — are generally much longer, since the modern fashion calls for elaborate knotting). The cord is draped across the lid and then the end is passed through the ear/s⁴ on one side of the jar, and adjusted to make the two lengths equal.
The naga-o should be twice the length of the tori-o, and may be of essentially the same thickness as the tori-o. The naga-o is thus a little thinner than the chi-o. At the end of the naga-o the cord should be frayed to create a tassel between 1-sun 8-bu and 2-sun long; but the length of the tassel is a matter of personal preference. It is also possible for the tassel to be missing entirely. Kenshin adds that these various measurements should be taken as approximations only.
Also, if the jar has an ear in front, a chi-o should not be tied on this ear (the naga-o, tied around the neck of the jar will hang down the front). It follows that in this case all of the ears will be covered by kensaki, in which case it has been said that the chi-o should not be used, which is a very interesting point. However, in remote antiquity the kuchi-ōi was in such cases put on so that the kensaki were located in the four corners (rather than in the front, back, and on the sides).
Finally, with respect to the tori-o, this name⁵ is also sometimes applied to the long ends of the ami that tie it closed on top (and by which it may be held, as described under the previous line).
¹Fūtai [風帯] literally means belts or ribbons that flap in the wind; hence pendant (and free moving) appendages. Another commentator explains that when the jar is placed into its ami, then the fūtai are the ami and the kuchi-ōi. However, when the ami has been removed, the fūtai will be the kuchi-ōi and (assuming that they have been tied on) the chi-o (and naga-o).
The chi-o and naga-o are dyed and braided silk cords tied in elaborate knots to decorate the jar when it is displayed in the tokonoma, as mentioned under the previous line. Usually they are crimson or orange, but Rikyū preferred these dyed a deep navy blue (he preferred a deep blue ami as well). The naga-o is tied around the neck of the jar and depends in front; the two chi-o are passed through either one or two of the ears (depending on the orientation of the jar*) and tied in knots that they hang down to within 2-sun of the base. (However, in the earliest period, before the ami was created to protect the jar while it was in storage, these knots served to prevent the jar from touching the sides of its box during the 6 months or so — between the time in May, according to the modern calendar, when the jar was filled until it was taken out at the beginning of the ro season in November — while it is in storage, so that the jar was surrounded by a laye of air; hence the hanging cords were left in place at all times.)
Note that while contemporary taste favors extremely elaborate Korean-** or Heian-style knots such as the age-maki or those employed in Shaman rituals (in addition, each of the modern schools has its own preferred styles of knots, with the chi-o usually being tied differently on the left side and on the right), the original style called only for a series of two or three loosely tied ordinary overhand knots (since two lengths of cord hang down regardless of whether the cord is tied around the neck of the jar or passed through one or two ears, the place where the cord crosses itself is always on the “inside” toward the other length of cord, while the loops were oriented on the “outer-side”), as shown in the photo, below: two knots were tied in the chi-o (as shown), and since the kuchi-o is longer, three knots (adding one more on each side to what is shown in the photo). It is written that in both cases, the hanging end of the cord should be 2-sun above the mat (and, as mentioned above, the lengths of the cord may also end in tassels, though in this case as well the bottom end of the tassels should be 2-sun from the floor).
*The front of the jar is always a matter of some debate. Usually it is determined by the glaze; the nadare (a flow of glaze, often of a different color from the rest of the jar) or some other feature deciding this point. As a result sometimes one of the ears may be in the front (this is more often seen with jars that have three ears — hence one ear in front and the others slightly to the rear of the sides, or if four one on each side and the fourth in back), or the front may be in the middle of the ears, (in which case the ears will be toward the front and back on both sides of the jar). These ears were originally used to tie the lid onto the jar using a cord passed through them and across the lid (the original tsubo were made for use either as storage jars or for bulk-aging medicinal liquers in China — in which case the lid was either rather loose-fitting or, for liquid, volatile, or otherwise sensitive contents, the mouth was lined with a piece of thick oiled or otherwise waterproofed paper before the wooden cap was inserted and tied in place). However, since tea is particularly sensitive to warmth and humidity, this simple closure was not secure enough, so the jar when used to store leaf tea is fitted with a tight-fitting mushroom-shaped lid of paulownia wood, that is then sealed further with a paper tape covered with rice-paste (the result is a similar degree of permeability to the unglazed portions of the jar — some exchange is necessary, otherwise the tea will be too dry and the particles will become charged with static electricity when ground, causing them to fly around, stick to the sides of the chaire, or clump together in hard balls that can not easily be dispersed with the normal action of the chasen).
**Hosokawa Sansai, when he returned from Korea at the end of Hideyoshi’s failed invasion of China, brought with him an illustrated manuscript detailing a number of secret knots, some derived from Korean Shaman ritual, while others were the product of Korean upper-class domestic usage. Handmade copies of this document (with the text translated into Japanese) have circulated under the name Sansai Kō O-Cha no Sho [三齋公御茶書]; however, Sansai himself referred to the collection as ko-ryū musubi-nori [古流結法], or, “the rules for tying knots according to the old manner.”
²”Shortest” is Kenshin’s expression. The kuchi-ōi is a square piece of cloth with the four corners rounded (sometimes slightly, sometimes more obviously, depending on the preference of the chajin who ordered it). It is placed on top of the lid and molded to its shape in such a way that the four corners protrude like flaps, with the places that correspond to the middle of each side of the cloth square folded under (see the photo, attached to the text of the previous line). The “shortest” places, therefore, correspond to the middle of the four sides of the square, and these are positioned over the four ears when the kuchi-ōi is tied on.
³This cord that is used to secure the kuchi-ōi over the lid of the jar is also known as the kuchi-o [口緒].
⁴The actual name for these small ears is chi [乳], nipples or teats. The tsubo, because it holds the tea leaves while they “mature,” is thus feminine.
⁵Probably in an effort to avoid confusion between these two uses for the name tori-o, the cord used to tie the kuchi-ōi has more commonly come to be known as the kuchi-o nowadays, as mentioned above.
(150) 床へ茶入上げ候事 [The matter of raising a chaire into the toko(noma).]
After the tea has been served, and the guests have finished their haiken of the chaire, it is possible for it to be elevated into the tokonoma¹ (by the host, or by the guests themselves, but usually only when acting on the host’s directions) if the guests request it.
It is also possible for the guests to take the initiative and raise it into the tokonoma themselves. If the guests wish for the chaire to be placed in the tokonoma, perhaps the second guest might take the chaire directly from the host’s hand and places it in the tokonoma for him, if that is more appropriate², while the host looks on.
¹The precedent for this comes from gokushin-temae. In this temae the naga-bon containing the dai-temmoku and the chaire are inspected by the guests while the host cleans the chasen using the kae-chawan. Then, after the conclusion of the temae, the naga-bon was removed from the daisu and (rather than being taken back to the katte or put away in the ji-fukuro under the chigai-dana) placed on the broad shelf underneath the chigai-dana (this shelf forms the roof of the ji-fukuro).
²In the case where the shōkyaku is a person of some importance, the second guest is usually there as his assistant, and it is in this capacity that the second guest takes the chaire from the host and places it in the tokonoma — so all the shōkyaku has to do is admire it there. Another interpretation is that in a smaller room where there is not sufficient space for the host to be able to directly access the tokonoma, as he is moving forward the second guest takes the chaire from his hands and lifts it into the tokonoma for him. The host looks on because he possibly has to direct the placement (the second guest acting rather as his surrogate).