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Zen and Material Culture$
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Pamela Winfield and Steven Heine

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190469290

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190469290.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 07 December 2021

Form and Function

Form and Function

Tea Bowls and the Problem of Zen in chanoyu

(p.70) 3 Form and Function
Zen and Material Culture

Morgan Pitelka

Oxford University Press

The institutional and discursive connections between Zen Buddhism and the ritualized culture of tea (chanoyu) in Japan are clear, but the ostensible link between Zen and the material culture of tea (i.e., tea houses, gardens, and both imported and domestically produced utensils such as tea bowls and calligraphy) is less evident. This chapter will consider the problem of Zen’s inconsistent and historically contingent relationship to the material culture of tea with particular reference to the history of the tea bowl in Japan. It considers well-known examples of tea bowls in Japanese tea culture and the changing social and political contexts for their production and use, and it argues that for some, drinking tea from a bowl may indeed trigger satori, but for others, a bowl is just a bowl.

Keywords:   tea, Sen no Rikyū, Murata Jukō, Ikkyū Sojun, Yamanoue Sōji, Raku ceramics

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