Notes on the Practice of Chanoyu — a Short Introduction for People Without Access to a Teacher (5c - Text, Part 2)
After the sō-rei, the host begins his temae.
(9)⁷ After pausing a moment (to collect his thoughts and compose his mind), the host picks up the chawan and places it in front of his knees — so the foot is to the right of the central set of lines (derived from the center fold of the shiki-shi) and the back side of the bowl touches but does not cross the line that marks the lower edge of the yū-yo⁸.
The chaire is then moved between the chawan and the host’s knees, so that it is squarely resting on the central kane, and its back side is in line with the end of the chashaku's handle. (Video 6)
◎ Note that the chaire is not necessarily centered on the horizontal line that indicates the lower end of the shiki-shi (though it usually is if there is a meibutsu relationship⁹ between the chaire and the chawan), but the front (the side toward the host) edge of the chaire's foot should be no closer to the host's knee-line than the dashed horizontal line¹⁰.
(10) Then the host removes the shifuku from the chaire, puts the chaire down on the mat between the chawan and his knees (in the same place as before), smooths out the shifuku, and places it on the far side of the yū-yo, between the left heri and the first kane on the left-side of the mat. (This kane corresponds to the left edge of the shiki-shi.)
◎ The opening should be forward (i.e., toward the temae-za), and the uchi-dome of the himo should be on the right side of the shifuku. (Video 7)
(11) Next the host removes the fukusa from his obi¹¹, folds it, and inserts it into the futokoro of his clothing¹². (Video 8)
(12) Picking up the chaire with his let hand, when it is held at mid-chest height above his knees, the host reaches into his futokoro and extracts the fukusa. He cleans the chaire — first the lid, and then the shoulders and the right side¹³ (holding the chaire over his lap while doing this).
(13) After returning the fukusa to his futokoro, the host puts the chaire down on the mat in front of the mizusashi.
◎ The chaire should be bounded on the left and the back sides by the kane, as shown in the sketch above. (Video 9)
(14) Taking out the fukusa once more, the host opens one fold and spreads it out on his left palm. Picking up the chashaku, the host wipes it (as will be discussed later, in the wari-geiko section¹⁴).
(15) With the fukusa still in his left hand, the host rests the chashaku on top of the lid of the chaire (lowering it vertically while keeping the chashaku perfectly horizontal). The host then folds the fukusa in half again and returns it to his futokoro. (Video 10)
◎ As may be seen in the sketch, above, the handle of the chashaku should not extend beyond the right side of the chaire.
◎ The chashaku should be placed to the right of the tsumami, or “handle” (indicated by the black dot in the sketch) on the chaire's lid.
◎ The fushi (node), which marks the chashaku's center of balance, should be next to the tsumami. This will help keep the chashaku from falling off¹⁵.
⁷The numbering of the steps (and the notes) continues from the previous entry.
⁸Yū-yo [有余] literally means a part of the mat that is not used (during the temae). The outer 5-bu on all four sides of the mat is always yū-yo, as is the 2-sun in front of the ji-ita of the daisu (or the mukō-ro)*.
In the latter case, the hishaku travels over the yū-yo (so that if a drop of water happens to fall, it will not land on any of the utensils). This was practical reason for establishing yū-yo on the face of the utensil mat.
*Yū-yo related to the ordinary ro (whether in a 4.5 mat room, where the ro is cut in the kagi-jō [鍵畳], the half-mat in the middle, or in a room where the utensil mat is an appended daime, and the ro is cut in the mat next to the utensil mat itself) are more complicated to define linearly. This was part of the original process of separating this kind of arrangement from that of the more formal rooms where the shin-daisu was always used.
⁹Such as when the chawan is 4-sun in diameter and the chaire is around 2-sun.*
A meibutsu relationship is one where the distance between the chawan and the chaire is exactly 2-sun when they are aligned with the shiki-shi (or the surface of the mat) at precisely their designated kane. This originally derived from the fact that in gokushin tea, the meibutsu temmoku-chawan was 3-sun 8-bu in diameter and the meibutsu ko-tsubo chaire was 2-sun 2-bu in diameter.
Technically, then, utensils that have this kind of relationship were considered meibutsu (when used together†) in the early days of chanoyu (and this is what the term meibutsu was originally intended to imply).
This is why, though the original meibutsu katatsuki were 2-sun 5-bu in diameter, most specially made katatsuki (since the days when wabi-no-chanoyu was first introduced into Japan), such as the ko-Seto pieces, were usually between 1-sun 9-bu and 2-sun in diameter.
By Rikyū’s day these ko-Seto katatsuki chaire were being treated as meibutsu in the wabi setting (for example, when displayed on the tsuri-dana). It is therefore important to understand the reasoning — as it evolved over time.
*Which is why so many of the “keiko-fū [稽古風]” (in other words, pieces made for use during practice) katatsuki chaire, and so many “commonplace” chawan (raku and otherwise) are made to these sizes.
†As they always would have been, once this kind of relationship was identified. It was less the quality of the individual pieces than the fact that when arranged together they exhibited a meibutsu relationship that made the original utensils so precious. (In the case of the so-called mine-zuri [峰刷] objectss, the relationship exists when their foot touch the kane that is found at the exact center of the folds of the shiki-shi).
¹⁰This line technically indicates the middle of the mat when the daisu is arranged on a maru-jō. This is the reason why, though it no longer has this significance on a daime (or when the utensil mat is being used as if it is a daime*), all of the utensils are placed either above or below this line, and never rest on top of it.
*In a wabi-temae (placing the furo on a ko-ita [小板] is always to be considered a wabi- or sō-style [informal] temae: the daisu is the shin arrangement for the furo, and using the naga-ita is intermediate, or gyō), where the shiki-ita is placed 5-sun from the far edge of the mat, irrespective of whether the utensil mat is technically a maru-jō (a full-sized mat, 6-shaku 3-sun by 3-shaku 1-sun 5-bu) or a daime-tatami (4-shaku 8-sun by 3-shaku 1-sun 5-bu), the utensil mat is always used as if it is a daime. If it is actually a maru-jō (as was the case in Rikyū’s Mozuno ko-yashiki), the lower 1-shaku 5-sun is yū-yo.
¹¹According to Oribe, Rikyū always hung the fukusa from his obi on the right side of his body, near the opening of the futokoro. Oribe is the person who began to hang it on the left (though Rikyū never followed suit, the machi-shū seem to have unanimously adopted this convention after RIkyū’s death, and so it became standard practice from the Edo period, even among those who purported to be following Rikyū’s methods).
¹²The fukusa is inserted into the futokoro so as to free both hands. While the host may pick up the chaire using only his left hand, it is better if the right hand is still be free in case he decides it is necessary to assist the left hand*. As Rikyū has said many times, it is never wrong to be careful — and his temae reflects this attitude.
Regardless of whether the host is wearing a kimono or some other sort of clothing, it is best if the top has overlapping collars that are bounded by an obi (or other sort of belt) below, into which the fukusa can be inserted.
It should be noted that while women’s obi became much wider and were tied higher in the Edo period, in Rikyū’s day theirs were the same size†, and worn at the same height, as the men’s obi. Wearing a large obi in the modern style makes it especially difficult for women to carry everything necessary in their futokoro; perhaps Westerners at least can consider returning things to the way they originally were when chanoyu was being codified.
*Temae should not be done mechanically. On every occasion the host should always be mindful regarding both his actions, and the effect that those actions will have on his guests: doing anything that might engender in them a sense of apprehension is wrong.
†The same can be said for the kimono itself: in Rikyū’s day there was little difference between kimono made for women and those made for use by men — including the selection of cloth and appropriate colors (Hideyoshi, for example, seems to have favored red brocades with a pale-yellow or white haori — made from a cloth with a pattern of the same color as the ground, called kaiki [海氣], on top — a combination that modern people would deem unsuitable for anyone but a very young girl).
Rikyū preferred clothing (cut like a kimono) made of shibu-dyed paper (hence a deep maroon-red) for in-home use; Yama-no-ue Sōji stated that the preferred color for unfigured cotton cloth was a very pale yellow, almost a yellow-beige (cotton was preferred over silk for in-home use; silk was considered not appropriate for wabi-tea when the host was officiating in his own home).
At home the host was free to wear pants and a shirt tied at the waist (in the Korean manner — though the shirt was secured by an obi, rather than a tie as now); but when making tea somewhere else Rikyū and other chajin of his day stressed that the host should wear a cloth (possibly silk) kimono, with a sheer black silk (or black-dyed cotton gauze) jittoku over top. (Though the modern jittoku is usually cut like a haori, that is extending to just below the waist, in Rikyu’s period it was longer, just a little shorter than the hem of the kimono over which it was being worn — as monks wear even today).
¹³The chaire is held still while it is wiped with the fukusa. It should never be rotated, the way many modern schools (following the machi-shū practice) teach. Rikyū was adamant that it not be rotated.
¹⁴The purpose of this narration is to give the reader a good sense of the temae. The individual points — how to fold the fukusa, how to clean the chaire and chashaku, and so forth, will be covered later, in their traditional order.
¹⁵If the chaire has an especially small lid*, which makes it difficult to rest the chashaku horizontally on top, the host should lean the chashaku against the lid (as is done for the ko-tsubo chaire)†. This procedure will be discussed later, when we consider the handling of the ko-tsubo chaire.
◎ If at all possible, the beginner should avoid using a chaire with an extremely small mouth and lid. Doing so at an early stage in ones study will result in bad habits that will be difficult to break later on. A katatsuki chaire with a mouth 1-sun‡ in diameter (or slightly larger) is best for practice.
The ko-Seto karamono-katatsuki no utsushi chaire that I used in the videos has a mouth 1.06-sun in diameter (measured across the outside of the rim).
*This kind of katatsuki chaire is called a ko-katatsuki [小肩衝], and was traditionally considered to fall within the sub-category of ko-tsubo.
†A small mouth means that the host will not be able to scoop the tea out properly, but will have to pull it out using the side of the chashaku. Thus the beginner will never be able to learn how to scoop out the matcha, which will prove to be a hardship when he goes on to use other containers with larger mouths.
‡The lid itself is, of course, slightly larger in diameter than this.
Unfortunately the size of the lid (which is traditionally made of ivory) has a great impact on the cost of the chaire, hence the beginner may be tempted to get a chaire with a smaller-sized lid to save money. Practice utensils often are made with ivory-colored plastic lids, which will keep the cost low while still allowing the beginner to learn to handle the lid and the chashaku properly.