Archives For author

This slideshow requires JavaScript.





paper lights

Tea ceremony scene from Matthew Barney’s Drawing Restraint 9.

For background information please see:


“Sen no Rikyu desired to learn The Way of Tea and so visited the Tea Master, Takeno Joo. As a simple test of whether to accept Rikyu or not Joo ordered him to tend the garden. Rikyu raked the garden until the ground was in perfect order. When he had finished he surveyed his work. He then shook a cherry tree, causing a few flowers and leaves to fall randomly on the ground. At that moment Takeno Joo knew Sen no Rikyu would be one the greatest example of wabi-sabi way of life.”

The Japanese tea ceremony developed as a “transformative practice”, and began to evolve its own aesthetic, in particular that of “wabi-sabi”.

“Wabi” represents the inner, or spiritual, experiences of human lives.
Its original meaning indicated quiet or sober refinement, or subdued taste “characterized by humility, restraint, simplicity, naturalism, profundity, imperfection, and asymmetry[, emphasizing] simple, unadorned objects and architectural space, and [celebrating] the mellow beauty that time and care impart to materials.”

“Sabi,” on the other hand, represents the outer, or material side of life.
Originally, it meant “worn,” “weathered,” or “decayed.” Particularly among the nobility, understanding emptiness was considered the most effective means to spiritual awakening, while embracing imperfection was honored as a healthy reminder to cherish our unpolished selves, here and now, just as we are – the first step to “satori” or enlightenment.

Black Teahouse. By A1 Architects

Related article: 茶香 X 大自然,最極致的心靈饗宴

I am so sorry. Goodbye. By Heather and Ivan Morison, Barbican Art Gallery, 2009.

Related article: AtHome with Kim Vallee

THR_33 (Teahouse for Robots). By rootoftwo and PLY Architecture, 2010.

Bridge Teahouse. By Fernando Romero.