Throughout history, individuals who are particular about taste and aesthetic experience will constantly pursue spiritual delights to elevate the mundane of everyday life. People nowadays still enjoy flower arranging, incense burning, painting hanging, and tea tasting. In fact, these long-lasting activities can be traced back over a thousand years.
Extant documents, antiquities, and paintings have shown that Song people of the 12th century gave special attention to the harmony between flowers and the vessels when they arranged flowers. They also made the incense in different recipes to display individuality with exclusive scent. Furthermore, hanging paintings not only served the purpose of decorating the home environments; more importantly, it created an immersive space of elegance. For tea tasting, “whisking tea,” diancha, was preferred for large parties while the archaic “boiling tea,” jiancha, was chosen to demonstrate a style of drinking alone or with fewer attendances.
This exhibition presents the four subjects of flower, incense, painting, and tea in divided sections. Through the interplay among the artefacts, it aims to reflect people’s thoughts and practices on these four activities around the 12th century. We invite everyone to the recreated area in the gallery to experience a world infused with flowers, incense, paintings, and tea from ancient times.
We owe our sincere gratitude to the National Central Library, Museum of Oriental Ceramics, Osaka and Ryoko-in Sanctuary in the Daitoku-ji Temple. The diversity of this exhibition is greatly enriched through their graciousness in lending their precious collections.