Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fire moving around the tearoom

The logic is easy: in Japan it snows in winter, and it’s hot and humid in summer. Therefore you want to be near a fire in winter, and away from a fire in summer. For tea, you need fire reg
ardless of the season, so in winter you take advantage of this and put the fire in the middle of the room where everyone can feel the warmth, and in summer you put the fire in a brazier in the far corner of the room away from everyone.

Just one of the many examples of consideration for the guest in the tea ceremony.

To the right is an example of the sunken hearth (ro 炉) used in the colder months in Japan (October to April):

You can see it’s towards the centre of the room, closer to where the guests sit. Therefore the guests enjoy more warmth from the fire of the sunken hearth when it’s chilly, sometimes snowing, outside.

Left is an example of a brazier (fūro 風炉) used in the warmer months in Japan (May to September):

The brazier sits on top of the tatami and is placed in the far corner of the room. It’s therefore further from the guests and the heat of the fire doesn’t bother them when it’s hot and humid outside.

We're going into the warmer months now in Melbourne. Look out for more info on Sadō Samurai about what us tea folk need to do to transition from the sunken hearth to brazier.

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