Tea ceremony in spotlight

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The Japanese tea ceremony was the topic of conversation when people gathered at the Aigantighe Art Gallery last week.
University of Canterbury art history lecturer Dr Richard Bullen hosted a talk at the gallery on Thursday, July 28, which attracted people wanting to learn more about the history of ceramics in the tea ceremony.
The talk was prompted by the gallery’s latest exhibition ‘‘Japanese Pottery: The Rising generation from traditional Japanese kilns’’.
Dr Bullen specialises in East Asian art history.
‘‘Within that, one of my main areas is the history of [the] Japanese tea ceremony; and ceramics has played a very large part in the tea ceremony, primarily through the utensils, which are [used] through the making of the tea.’’
Dr Bullen studied the tea ceremony in Japan and completed his PhD in aesthetics of the Japanese tea ceremony.
‘‘The tea ceremony is at the heart of the Japanese culture, so for hundreds of years the tea ceremony was practised by people of power and high levels of culture.’’
He said tastes which later developed in the tea ceremony also influenced wider aspects of Japanese culture, including flower arranging, calligraphy, painting and interior design.
Dr Bullen was impressed by the exhibition, which would remain in Timaru for just a few more days. Aigantighe Art Gallery had secured the exhibition’s only South Island tour destination.
‘‘It’s a very impressive exhibition — it’s fantastic,’’ Dr Bullen said.
Gallery manager Cara Fitzgerald said people from all around the country had viewed the exhibition in Timaru.
‘‘We’ve had people from all over, [including] Christchurch and Dunedin, to visit this; and we’ve had some people from the North Island — visitors who have just had the lucky spell and were surprised because it’s the only South Island location.’’
The exhibition ends on Sunday.