2 Tea and Zen History

Text and Images from Slide

The interior of an "oil spot" temmoku bowl. The glaze is brown but there are small iridescent patches like oil floating on the water. This happens because the glaze is super-saturated with iron and it crystallizes under certain circumstances in firing.

An "oil spot" temmoku tea bowl shown from the bottom. The foot is small, shallow, and unglazed. The clay is buff-colored.

An "oil spot" temmoku bowl on a cup stand. The bowl is conical-shaped with a small foot. There is an indentation near the rim. The stand is wood. The bottom section of the stand is like a cylindrical ring flaring at the bottom. On top of the ring a shallow saucer about seven inches across is attached. A cup shape is attached on top of the saucer. It is about 3 1/2 inches across at the top. The foot of the bowl sits in this cup. In China, a stand like this was used to present wine cups and tea cups to people of rank. The idea may have been to show respect by preventing the servants from touching the cups of the more important people.

An "oil spot" temmoku ("Eye of Heaven") bowl on a dai (cup stand) similar to those used by monks in China and Japan to drink tea

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Lecture Notes

Eisai was a firm believer in the health benefits of tea. Eisai also promoted a strict code of discipline for Japanese monastery life. The manner in which tea was prepared and shared among monks and temple patrons at memorial ceremonies and other important temple events was strictly regulated. Like most other parts of monastic life, tea ritual was based on the Chinese temple model.