An American potter's journal about making and collecting utensils for her study of chanoyu.
In addition to making ceramic objects in her home studio, Linda collects materials and makes one-of-a-kind chabako, the small portable box that holds almost all the items needed for the five variations of this specific traditional Japanese tea ritual.
Monday, April 9, 2012
Japanese Chabako tea ritual
Greetings from Chabako Crazy aka Linda Mosley.
April 9, 2012 This is the first entry in a blog about my interest in chabako, a special little box filled with most of the utensils used to make a bowl of matcha (green tea).
The craziness started in the mid 1980s when I saw a picture in a Japanese magazine of a lady kneeling on a tatami mat with a small rectangular lidded basket, precious little tea things and their drawstring bags carefully arranged in front of her. I was
already studying chanoyu but at that time could not imagine that I would ever
reach the level of using these intriguing things myself. Now I know that they are for a special procedure called shikishi date, named because the
small brocade napkins are spread around like shikishi, poem cards.
After studying chanoyu for three years here in Austin, I’ve
begun to learn the four chabakotemae (procedures). I’ve become even fonder
of the process: packing the smaller scale items necessary to make a bowl of
tea and serve tiny sweets, bringing them out for the guest, and then putting
them back into their little wooden box until the next opportunity.
First I searched for a lidded box of similar dimensions to
practice the temae. It’s not an easy size to find in the US. Then in my pottery
studio, I made a small chawan (teabowl),afuridashi (jar for tiny hard
sugar candy) and a chakin-tsutsu (holder
for small wet cloth to clean the chawan).
My first "real" chabako set
After two failed attempts to bid for a chabako set on eBay,
I finally had a winning bid and have enjoyed using the traditional utensils
that came with it. In addition I
ordered a second set of matching chakin
tsu-tsu, chasen tsu-tsu and natsume
with the striped koma pattern of a
child’s toy top to use on certain occasions.
It was so much fun to think of different combinations of
utensils to use in my chabako! I decided to create a Cowboy Chabako when I discovered
a small glass boot that could be used as a chakin-tsu-tsu.
When I told a good friend about my project, she found a great little blue
enamelware coffee pot that is perfect as a tetsubin (hot water kettle).I could use these things with my
traditional chabako, but I intend to make a lidded box out of leather and add a few other touches to complete
the theme. I'll post some photos later...
Now I’m thinking it would be fun to create even more chabako
with special themes. I think I
must be chabako-crazy!