Japanese Tea Ceremony - Tea Ceremony and Kimono

Tea Ceremony and Kimono

See also: Kimono

Many of the movements and components of tea ceremony evolved from the wearing of kimono and, although it is not uncommon for students nowadays to wear western clothes for practice, most will practice in kimono at least some of the time, for this is essential to learn the prescribed motions properly.

For example, certain movements are designed with long kimono sleeves in mind; certain motions are intended to move sleeves out of the way or to prevent them from becoming dirtied in the process of making, serving or partaking of tea. Other motions are designed to allow for the straightening of the kimono and hakama. The silk fukusa cloths are designed to be folded and tucked into the obi (sash); when no obi is worn, a regular belt must be substituted or the motions cannot be performed properly. Kaishi and smaller silk cloths known as kobukusa (小袱紗?) are tucked into the breast of the kimono; fans are tucked into the obi. When Western clothes are worn, the wearer must find other places to keep these objects. The sleeves of the kimono also function as pockets, and used kaishi are folded and placed into them.

On formal occasions the host—male or female—always wears a kimono. Proper attire for guests is kimono or western formal wear. Most practitioners own at least one kimono suitable for wearing when hosting or participating in tea ceremonies. For both men and women, the attire worn at a tea ceremony—whether traditional kimono or other clothing—is usually subdued and conservative, so as not to be distracting.

Men may wear kimono only, or (for more formal occasions) a combination of kimono and hakama (a long divided or undivided skirt worn over the kimono). Those who have earned the right may wear a kimono with a jittoku or juttoku (十徳?) jacket instead of hakama.

Women wear various styles of kimono depending on the season and the event; women generally do not wear hakama for tea ceremony, and do not gain the right to wear a jittoku.

Lined kimono are worn by both men and women in the winter months, and unlined ones in the summer. For formal occasions, montsuki kimono (紋付着物?) (kimono with three to five family crests on the sleeves and back) are worn. Both men and women wear white tabi (divided-toe socks).

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