What is Wabi-cha or the origin of tea ceremony

Japanese cups

What is Wabicha?

Wabi-cha or tea of wabi, the main stream tea ceremony today was established by Murata Juko in the Muromachi period and perfected by Sen-no Rikyu in the Azuchi-momoyama period.

Though tea parties have been held before Murata Juko established wabi-cha, parties were luxurious and expensive bowls made in China, called Kara-Mono, were used.

Regarding this, Murata Juko, a Zen priest, proposed a tea party, where spiritual interaction was emphasized, without the luxuries. Later his style of tea party came to be called Wabi-cha. The essence is for people to face one another while sharing a cup of tea in a room where the superfluous things are disposed of.

In the tea party, since people face of one another, just as a person, they should not be discriminated against, based on rank, position and whether rich or poor.

Wabi-cha as well as Zen Buddhism has affected Japanese culture deeply.

However, it has changed with times, and now people have come to compare the value of the tea bowl and the hanging scrolls of the tea rooms as if in a competition. Therefore, the actual tea ceremony is not necessarily the tea ceremony of Murata Juko’s aspiration.