Ashmolean’s authentic Japanese tea house.
This tea house was designed by the Japanese architect Isao Komoda. The tea house was built near Tokyo by the company Amakasu Komuten, which specialises in traditional Japanese architecture. A team of skilled Japanese craftsmen constructed the tea house in Japan, then took it apart. shipped it to England and rebuilt it inside the museum.
The tea house was named 'Ningendo' by the gallery sponsor, Mr Hiroaki Shikanai. The phrase 'Ningen' refers to the qualities of virtue and benevolence and is associated with the 9th century Buddhist priest Kukai.
The name, which is read from right to left, is written in ancient Chinese-style seal script. .
The Japanese tea ceremony:
In the Japanese tea ceremony participants share in a structured ritual of tea drinking and the appreciation of beautiful tea utensils carefully selected by the tea master.
During a tea gathering the host sits at the back of the room, with the guests toward the front of the tea house. There is an electric-powered hearth for the hot water kettle, and an area for the display of a scroll and flowers. The arched area at the back (sado guchi) is for the host and the tiny door at the side (nijiri guchi) is for the guests. .
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