The Beatification of the Mundane
Faraway lands and exotic delicacies, graceful tea ceremonies, warrior swords, kingly harps, and exquisite quills play across the surface of this diminutive text—The Book of Tea.1 An odd turn to take, especially after Thoreau’s frankly down-to-earth field of study with which the tea ceremony makes a rather odd coupling indeed. After all, Okakura Kakuzo lived considerably far removed from woods, in Asian tea-rooms and the galleries of high art museums, among fabled myths and ravishingly gossamer images of “the Orient” in pen-and-ink. Art connoisseur, curator, defender of Japan’s cultural legacy, Okakura is no Thoreauvian American naturalist. On the face of it, the consummate formality and absolute aestheticism of The Book of Tea look utterly and impossibly opposed to the rustic walking celebrated by Thoreau.
KeywordsDiet Soft Drink Daily Ritual Consummate Formality Tangible Incarnation Fateful Drama
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