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A Celebration of Tea: Humility

Posted by
GJC (Kyoto, Japan) on 11 December 2011 in Lifestyle & Culture.

This image is part of a short series, A Celebration of Tea, which began here.

This is the entrance inside the teahouse in yesterday's photo. This style of doorway is called a nijiriguchi (躙口) and legend says that it was first designed by the great tea master Sen no Rikyū (千利休) who lived between 1522 and 1591. An early source written in about 1650 tells us that Rikyū took the idea from the small portals on the boats that passed through his native town of Sakai, because he admired how they offered an entrance into a different world, one where all who entered were joined by a common journey. The Buddhist symbolism did not escape him.

The standard width of the nijiriguchi is usually 65cm x 60cm (25in x 23in) making it impossible to enter the teahouse standing up, or wearing the two swords of the samurai. Instead, Rikyū wanted guests to enter the teahouse by bowing their head and sliding in on their knees. A rack outside gently reminded samurai to remove their weapons. These rituals of humility were essential, Rikyū thought, to entering the space for tea in the proper frame of mind.

NIKON D300 1/80 second F/2.2 ISO 400 52 mm (35mm equiv.)

ordinaryimages from Kentucky Bluegrass, United States

You captured the quiet. best…jf

11 Dec 2011 5:20am

L'Angevine from Angers, France

intéressante la perspective

11 Dec 2011 8:55am

Anita from West Nottingham, Pennsylvania, United States


11 Dec 2011 11:35am

ajo from madrid, Spain

Makes me feel peace... :)

11 Dec 2011 12:08pm

Othersideblue from Kerman, Iran

peaceful view

11 Dec 2011 8:39pm

Lena from San Francisco, United States

very nice composition. great framing !

12 Dec 2011 2:27am

Riccardo from Rome, Italy

This serie is stunning! Great one!!

12 Dec 2011 7:45am

Ronnie 2¢ from Atlantic Shores, United Kingdom

This series is everything I had hoped . . an education.

12 Dec 2011 9:43am

@Ronnie 2¢: What a very kind thing to say. Thank you very much.

Eric C. from Ivry sur Seine, France

Great mood !!

13 Dec 2011 8:07pm

Steve Rice from Olympia, United States


14 Dec 2011 9:48pm

Japanalia from Yokohama, Japan

I like your subtle shot! IT IS an invitation to humility, BUT.....Hideyoshi knew no such thing as humility even in the presence of Sen-no-Rikyu, even though he supported cha-no-you...he was a many of many complexes, he felt his inferiority when faced with Rikyu's humble attitude.And to show WHO he really was...he built himself a teahouse made of gold....Now THAT is a lesson on humility..lost!

15 Dec 2011 3:49am

@Japanalia: Well put. I guess cha-no-you doesn't impress everyone... :)

Manola from Bassens, France

thank you for this series: I've learned a lot ..;-)

16 Dec 2011 5:59am

1/80 second
ISO 400
52 mm (35mm equiv.)