The Way of Tea: Zen Art and Aesthetics

Presented by Catherine Pagani, Ph.D. professor of art history and chair of the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Alabama

Much of Japanese art is the direct expression of philosophical and spiritual interpretations of experience. This presentation explores the relationship between art and thought in Japan by focusing on Zen Buddhism’s profound influence on Japanese culture as seen through the tea ceremony. Chanoyu , literally “hot water for tea,” is a practice that involves not simply drinking tea but a whole range of spiritual and aesthetic activities. Zen’s emphasis on the value of simplicity, economy of means and beauty in the natural has been far-reaching, affecting architecture, flower arranging, painting, calligraphy and garden design as well. In this presentation, we will learn about the history and practice of Zen Buddhism, develop an understanding of Zen aesthetics and see how this is manifested in the art of the tea ceremony. Chanoyu is unmatched in its influence on Japanese culture. It is thus through the tea ceremony that we will not only learn about aesthetics but come to know Japanese culture as well.

A digital projector and large screen are requested.

Contact Catherine Pagani to book this presentation
(205) 348-9944