Tea ceremony was developed as a social activity among high-class men. They gathered and discussed various topics with a course of meal and tea. Senrikyu established that gathering as an ceremonial art in 16th century, having defined the manner and encouraged participants to appreciate the decoration and equipment used during the ceremony. Tea ceremony since 17th century functioned like salons in France in 18-19th century where people exchanged cultural and intellectual knowledge.
Today, tea ceremony is regarded one of the most important art in Japan because it is a comprehensive art that forms bases of Japanese art. Many other arts like room decorations, flower arrangements, calligraphy, tea related equipment, kaiseki dishes and sweets were invented or improved as tea ceremony was developed. At each ceremony, all arrangements are specially prepared for guests based on season and occasion of the ceremony, which requires the host the highly sophisticated hospitality. Or sometimes the tea ceremony is held to demonstrate and appreciate a collection of art crafts that the host has collected, together with guests.
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Koicha (thick green tea) and usucha (thin green tea) in authentic tea ceremony.
How did tea ceremony started and become sophisticated in Japanese culture?