2016FallSymposiumURCreativityEngagement has ended
Tuesday, December 6 • 8:20am - 8:40am
Chadao and Chanoyu: A Comparative Analysis of the Use of Tea Culture by Chinese and Japanese Elite Society as a Prestige Tool

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The thesis of this paper is that despite the differences in traditional Chinese and Japanese tea cultures, both cultures had members of their elite society using their tea culture to enhance their own prestige. This paper will focus on the time from the mid-8th century to the early 17th century. Three aspects of tea culture will be discussed in this paper: government, religious, and material culture. The government aspect will deal with tea as used by the Chinese emperors, specifically Emperor Huizong (1100-26) who wrote a treatise on tea. For Japan, the government aspect will focus mostly on the shoguns, the military dictators of feudal Japan who used tea culture to increase their prestige through peaceful means. The religious aspect will focus completely on Buddhism, which featured prominently in East Asian tea culture. For China, the major figure that will be discussed is Ennin, a Japanese Buddhist monk who travelled through China in the 9th century and commented often on tea. Zen Buddhism played a huge role in Japanese tea culture, particularly in the person of Sen no Rikyu (1522-91) who was a devout follower of Zen and a revolutionary figure in the Japanese tea ceremony (chanoyu). Rikyu was a merchant, who would traditionally ranked very low in society, but tea culture increased his otherwise low prestige. The third aspect is material culture, particularly tea bowls, which were viewed as prestigious works of art well worth acquiring in both China and Japan to show off one’s wealth and taste.

Tuesday December 6, 2016 8:20am - 8:40am
014 Whiteside Hall

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