Learning / The changing of the seasons is important in traditional tea ceremony, so it’s appropriate that the Honolulu Museum of Art offers Bontemae: Tea Ceremony Workshop at summer’s end.
Though tea procedures vary from school to school, the year is traditionally divided into two main seasons: the sunken earth period and the brazier period. For each, there are variations of ceremony and utensils, and in this upcoming series of classes, one will learn about both, as well as the rare practice of slowing down the ceremony and the art of stirring in the tea.
The class covers bontemae, or tray-style tea ceremony (the simplest form) as well as the 400-year-old wabi cha ritual, which includes the arrangement of implements and tea bowls, the folding of fukusa (silk squares that serve as trivets or potholders), the how-to of the tea whisk, and lessons in serving, drinking and holding the tea vessels.
This is a class for those who have been summoned by time to the tea room, who are looking for the sound of a gong rung in prescribed ways. It’s a ritual cleansing, and perhaps an opportunity to better understand the culture of tea.