Chigusa and the Art of Tea


Chigusa and the Art of Tea

Edited by: Louise Allison Cort and Andrew Watsky
Publisher: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, 2014

This book of essays by multiple authors tells the story of an extraordinary tea-leaf storage jar named Chigusa. The jar was crafted in southern China during the 13th or 14th century and shipped to Japan, where its use as a tea-leaf storage jar endowed it with special status. The bestowing of a personal name — Chigusa (“thousand grasses” or “myriad things”), an evocative phrase from Japanese poetry — was a sign of respect and reverence.

Chigusa is the rare object that allows us deep insight into how people in Japan looked at, thought about and valued things over time,” said Andrew Watsky, professor of art and archaeology at Princeton University. He co-authored the book with Louise Allison Cort, curator of ceramics at the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution, which organized the exhibition, Chigusa and the Art of Tea in Japan.

The exhibition is on view at the Princeton University Art Museum from Oct. 11, 2014, through Feb. 1, 2015.