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Understanding the Rank of Tea Ceremony Utensils

Choosing the utensils to use in a tea ceremony depends on factors such as the season and occasion.

This custom originated from the time when people were treated based on rank. It was also applied to the use of utensils.

The Manner by which a Utensil is Handled Low rank utensils are not carried with two hands. They are picked up with one and never held with 2 except for a short time.

High rank utensils are carried in close proximity to the body, almost near the stomach for stability.

A lower rank utensil such as waste water container is carried at waist level.

The Sequence the Utensils are Attended Utensils that are high in rank are brought inside the room before lower ranking utensils.

The alcove (tokonoma) is considered to be the most important area in the tea room.

Rank is indicated by one’s proximity to it.

In the room, guests are seated near the alcove while the guest of honor is seated first in the row closest to the alcove.

Utensils are placed within easy view and also indicate importance.

For more information on Japanese Tea Ceremonies, visit our website

Understanding the Rank of Tea Ceremony Utensils