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A tea ceremony was a very specialized procedure for making tea practiced in Kara-Tur.[1][2]

UsageEdit

The tea ceremony was practiced by members of the nobility in some lands of Kara-Tur.[1]

In Wa, the tea ceremony was once wholly the domain of the shogunate. However, by the 1350s DR, it had spread to the merchants, who enjoyed its formality and spiritual elements, and it had grown incredibly popular among them. A gracious display suggested the practitioner to be a trustworthy partner in business. In the teahouses of Iiso, the tea was boiled in the corner of the main room, while preparations for the tea ceremony were made in a room called the katte.[3] The tea ceremony was one of the classical arts taught to samurai families, such as the sons of the Kidera Takeshi.[4]

In Kozakura, a hospitality ritual incorporating a tea ceremony was practiced at the Inn of the Globefish around 1359 DR, in its Place of Bountiful Welcome. In this, small cups of tea were served to guests; drinking them signified accepting the inn's hospitality, while refusing them was improper.[5] At the Everlasting Serenity Tea House in Kudoku, the tea ceremony was performed as a demonstration of courtesy to the host.[2]

The sea spirit folk dwelling in the waters around Kozakura were intrigued by land-dweller customs, including the tea ceremony. Performing a tea ceremony was one way to impress their leader and gain passage.[6]

RitualEdit

Although it appeared fairly simple at first glance, conducting the tea ceremony required total concentration and every stage and action needed to be done with exquisite precision and grace. The full tea ceremony could take an hour to complete. Its aim was to instill absolute calm and serenity and to rid the mind of all distraction. If successful, the practitioner could not be surprised in any way during the tea ceremony.[1]

Necessary implements included a dedicated table, a brazier, a kettle, tea cups, and a tea caddy. These could be family heirlooms and works of art.[5][2] A simple tea ceremony set might be made of bamboo.[7] Tatami mats of various colors could be laid on the floor in a pattern around a central, larger mat where the tea was made.[2]

The following form was practiced in Kozakura at the Everlasting Serenity Tea House. The first stage was protocol: the participants removed any weapons, armor, and other equipment, and instead donned kimonos. The second stage was purification: participants washed their hands and faces in provided bowls of water. The third stage was placement: participants took a certain route around the tatami mats to the central one, and then kneel in set places while leaving sufficient space for their host. The fourth stage was the serving and receiving of the tea itself. The host poured tea into large cup held by a guest, after which they bowed to one another. The guest rotated the cup, sipped some tea, complimented the host, and then passed it to the next guest to sample. If all approved, the host stoked the fire and poured cups for each guest. The final stage might be the most important: the drinking of tea and making polite conversation.[2]

HistoryEdit

There were stories of true masters of the tea ceremony who, when engaged in the procedure, could not be distracted or surprised in even the smallest way.[1]

In 1553 on the Kozakuran Calendar (1479 DR), Namiko Li, the head geisha of the Everlasting Serenity Tea House, requested the adventurers confronting her about the murder of Hiro Yun perform a tea ceremony before she would answer their charges. If they failed to perform well, she and her minions attacked them. However, if they succeeded perfectly, she attacked them anyway, though her minions retreated.[2][note 1]

AppendixEdit

NotesEdit

  1. It is possible, therefore, this entire tea ceremony was a ruse to stall for time and divest PCs of armor and weapons before an ambush, and some steps could've been invented. In any case, PCs spontaneously received their equipment anyway.

See AlsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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