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Tea Room image 5 (detail) - tokonoma

by Seiji Suzuki

Abstract

The alcove, or tokonoma, is slightly elevated above the tearoom floor and may originally have been used to seat someone of high rank. In the medieval age, the alcove became a sacred space to display a scroll with calligraphy or a simple flower arrangement. In a formal tea gathering, the scroll offers a profound message upon which guests may meditate; the natural flower arrangement reflects the pure spirit of the host. The uneven and staggered cherrywood shelves in the tokonoma display porcelains from the Reeves Collection. In medieval Japan, the shelves often held writing implements and Buddhist scripture. A dove-shaped piece of wood curves upward at the end of the shelf. This traditional architectural detail prevents a writing brush from rolling off the shelf. The recessed hardware details in the cabinets are in the shape of a chrysanthemum.

Note

Materials may be used for educational, non-commercial purposes only. Acknowledgement to be given to the ASIANetwork-Luce Asian Art in the Undergraduate Curriculum Project and to the college from whose collection the work comes. The individual college retains copyright to the work.

Administrative Notes

Materials may be used for educational, non-commercial purposes only. Acknowledgement to be given to the ASIANetwork-Luce Asian Art in the Undergraduate Curriculum Project and to the college from whose collection the work comes. The individual college retains copyright to the work.

Copyright
Copyright restrictions apply.
Publisher
Washington and Lee University
PID
coccc:24415
Extent
800 w x 534 h, 240 ppi