February 1591. Hideyoshi Toyotomi ordered Sen-no-Rikyu to commit ritual suicide by disembowelment. Rikyu made a bamboo chashaku, used it for his last tea gathering, and gave it to Oribe Furuta. Its name is “namida” (tears). Oribe made a tube for it, and cut a rectangular window open. It is believed that Oribe paid respect to Rikyu after his passing by viewing the chashaku through the window as if it had been Rikyu’s “iha’i” (a small wood tablet on a stand used in the Buddhist tradition as a representation of the dead person). Tokugawa Art Museum currently holds the chashaku in its collection.
“Namida” is seen in the movie “Go’u-hime” on display in Oribe’s alcove.
When tea drinking first came to Japan, spoons for medicines were used, which were typically made of ivory or turtle shells. Bamboo became the material of choice during Rikyu’s time.
Originally posted March 18, 2015