unorthodox pottery | Otagaki Rengetsu

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Chanoyu, the Japanese tea ceremony, which originated in fifteenth-century Kyoto, began as a pastime of the elites – high-ranking warriors, Buddhist monks and aristocrats. By the late sixteenth century, wealthy well-educated urban merchants also participated, one of whom, Sen no Rikyu, codified the now familiar Zen-influenced aesthetic identity for Chanoyu that celebrates rusticity, austerity and simplicity.
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By Rengetsu’s time, the diverse participants in Chanoyu obtained utensils from orthodox potter lineages such as Raku, used vessels they made themselves as self-taught amateurs, or obtained them from new sources that included provincial kilns and workshops of independent potters, among them nuns such as Rengetsu. (Patricia J. Graham: Otagaki Rengetsu and the Japanese Tea Ceremony, in: Black Robe White Mist, 2007, pp. 63-64)

“Don’t fall behind!
hurry up, hurry up!”
A little cuckoo
flying over Kamiyama
also cries out.

Otagaki Rengetsu (1791-1875)

 

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