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Ceremonial Teahouse: Sunkaraku (Evanescent Joys)
Ceremonial Teahouse: Sunkaraku (Evanescent Joys), c. 1917
Designed by Ōgi Rodō, Japanese
Wood, bamboo, stone, metal, rush, plaster, paper, ceramic, fabric, and mulberry bast cord
Purchased with Museum Funds, 1928
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Looking Questions

  • Pretend that you are going to enter this small house. What route would you take? Why? Do you see a place to wash your hands or have a drink of water?
  • How many people could fit comfortably inside? What would they sit on?
  • What is the house made of? Are all these different materials man-made or natural?
  • What do you think this small house is used for? Why?
  • Imagine sitting inside the house. How would it feel? Make a list of adjectives.

Art Project: Build a Tea Bowl

Using play-dough or clay, have students form a small bowl with their hands in the shape of a drinking vessel. (Remind them that Japanese tea bowls do not have handles.) Rather than make the bowl perfectly round, students can experiment with subtle textures and different colors of clay to create a feeling of surprise in the surfaces and shapes. Ceremonial tea bowls are given a name, often reflecting a quality or an object from nature that the bowl seems to reflect or resemble. Have students name their tea bowls.

Research Idea: Learn More About the Japanese Tea Ceremony

What important objects are used? How are they used in the ceremony? How does someone become a Tea Master—a person trained in the highly structured art of being a host and serving guests at a tea ceremony? What does the ceremony have to do with Zen Buddhism, and with the practice of meditation?

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