Read Zen Flowers Chabana for Tea Ceremony Online by Henry Mittwer

Read Zen Flowers Chabana for Tea Ceremony Online by Henry Mittwer


hana (flower) calligraphy by Zen Grasp Roshi Nakagawa, Soen of Ryutaku-ji, Mishima Oita, Shizuoka.

Printed by the Charles E. Tuttle Firm, Inc.

of Rutland, Vermont & Tokyo, Japan

with editorial workplaces at

Osaki Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 141-0032

© 1974 by Charles E. Tuttle Publishing Co., Inc.

All rights reserved

Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 73-93226

ISBN: 978-1-4629-0147-0 (e book)

First version, 1974

First gift-book version, 1992


This ebook is respectfully devoted

to the late Zen monk

Senzaki Nyogen

who confirmed me the trail to a lifetime of simplicity

Chabana means flowers for tea. It’s a sort of flower association created within the spirit of the aestheticism of wabi (see p. 34).




  1. February—Sanshu and camellia in a pottery vase 51

  2. March—Saxifrage in a dangling bamboo boat 55

  3. April—Apple bough and camellia in a bamboo vase 59

  4. Could—Bathroom-reed, thistle, night primrose, spirea, and trumpet honeysuckle in a fisherman’s creel 67

  5. June—Woman’s slipper, thistle, and loosestrife in a pottery vase 75

  6. July—Burnet, clematis, morning-star lily, billberry, and bush clover in a bamboo basket 81

  7. August—Night primrose, aster, and Indian poke in a vine basket 89

  8. September—Eulalia, burnet-bloodwort, smartweed, pigeonberry, and Pink in a bisk-ware vase 95

  9. October—Okera and Chinese language begonia in a bamboo basket 105

10. November—Job’s tears, shrubby althea, aster, agrimony, and butterfly bush in a bamboo chopstick basket 111

11. December—Witch-hazel and Judith camellia in Iga pottery 115

12. January—Narcissus in Chinese language bronzeware 119


  1. Sanshu 53

  2. Crimson-berried elder 53

  3. Flower-of-the-butterbur 57

  4. Rape flower 57

  5. Little handball 61

  6. Cucumber tree 62

  7. Equinox cherry 62

  8. Camellia 63

  9. Wistaria 69

10. Trumpet honeysuckle 71

11. Fairy bells 71

12. Weigela 72

13. Columbine 73

14. Loosestrife-of-the-field 77

15. Bell flower 77

16. Dogwood 79

17. Thistle 79

18. Spirea 79

19. Burnet 83

20. Bindweed 85

21. Burnet-bloodwort 90

22. Indigo 91

23. Shrubby althea, rose of Sharon 92

24. Longpurple, willowweed 96

25. Bush clover 96

26. Arrowroot, 98

27. Smartweed, knotweed 99

28. Pink 99

29. Patrinia 101

30. Contact-me-not, jewel weed 103

31. Toad lily 107

32. Aster 107

33. Winged spindle tree 113

34. Job’s tears 113

35. French daffodil, narcissus 117

36. Honeysuckle 121

37. Foxtail grass 126

38. Umbrella sedge 126


My examine of the artwork of Chabana was made doable by the generosity of Mr. Sen Soshitsu xv of the Ura Senke Faculty of Chanoyu in Kyoto. I want to categorical my honest due to him and to all of the instructors related to the college. Via their kindness, I used to be capable of perceive the importance of the aesthetic perfect of the artwork of the tea ceremony, Chanoyu.

Though I had the good privilege of learning Chabana beneath probably the most favorable circumstances, I really feel I’ve solely caught glimpses of this expressive artwork. This ebook doesn’t try and cowl all that may be mentioned of the topic. Nevertheless, if I’m able to arouse any curiosity within the reader concerning the artwork of Chabana, and if I could make new associates by this ebook, I’ll think about myself lucky.

For the preparation of this work, innumerable individuals have given me their beneficial help. I’m particularly grateful to Mr. Yamafuji Sozan, a person whose lifetime devotion to the artwork of Chabana has earned him the popularity of being one of many foremost masters on this artwork. He kindly organized the twelve month-to-month Chabana for use for illustrations, and supplied a lot beneficial info for Half Two coping with the assorted flowers of the seasons. Additionally, I’m grateful to Mrs. W. H. Johnstone of New York for her cautious reviewing of the manuscript; to my daughter, whose secretarial effectivity and untiring fingers organized this materials by her typing; and final, however not least, to my spouse, who watched over this work as if an umbrella of kindness had been lifted above me.



fifteenth descendant of Sen Rikyu

To this point, excluding Okakura Kakuzo’s glorious account of flowers used within the artwork of Chanoyu in his pleasant The E book of Tea, nearly nothing has been accessible on the topic. To my data, the current quantity is the one ebook written in English that’s wholly dedicated to the particular type of flower association known as Chabana.

Chabana is a sort of flower association that originated within the tea room (known as chashitsuj) for the appreciation of these partaking of cha, or tea. Chabana shouldn’t be just for ornament, for symbolic illustration, or for summary expression of the self. If I’ll cite an episode that occurred 2,500 years in the past, Chabana has one thing in frequent with one in every of Shakyamuni Buddha’s sermons. Buddha evenly picked a single bloom from a basketful of flowers provided to Him by one of many multitude who got here to listen to His sermon. Buddha slowly, silently, held up the flower earlier than the congregation. Among the many gathering was one in every of His disciples, Mahakasyapa, who gently smiled as he apprehended the Buddha’s gesture.

Chabana is probably not a flower association having a Zen-like mission, but it surely definitely is a flower association appreciated by a thoughts nourished with the Zen ideas of simplicity and directness.

Life with Flowers, which Mr. Mittwer has titled the primary a part of this ebook, could be very acceptable. On this age of environmental air pollution and exploitation of nature, we’re overwhelmed by the stress and wrestle of society. We must always discover the room and the time in our minds for a bowl of cha and easy flowers. Life with Flowers means to see and to reside with flowers, and to seek out humanity in a bowl of cha.

Together with Noh, haiku, sumi work, karesansui gardens, raku ceramics, and different stunning Japanese arts and crafts, Chabana quietly blossomed within the historical cultural metropolis of Kyoto. The artwork of Chabana is one in every of Japan’s proud heritages as a result of it’s an artwork kind that transcends all nationwide and cultural boundaries.

Kyoto, Japan

Half One




Unhappy is a house, nevertheless sensible and economical, when embellished with plastic flowers. But it’s touching to understand what motivation is behind these synthetic blooms—a eager for the attractive.

The love of flowers is common. This has been so ever since man separated himself from the brute. Flowers are a lot part of us that we can’t envision life with out them. We garland our days from start to demise with flowers. Cities, states, and nations are symbolized by flowers. We title our youngsters after flowers. They’re used for drugs and meals; they’re dissected and mutilated; they’re desired by all, however are sometimes mistreated.

The flowers of the sector, of the woods, and even the anonymous little flowers alongside the wayside that go unnoticed, communicate; their easy however mysteriously

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