kireisabi きれいさび
KEY WORD : architecture / tea houses
Lit. refined rusticity. Also written 綺麗寂. An aesthetic ideal of the early 17c associated with the *chanoyu 茶湯 master Kobori Enshuu 小堀遠州 (1579-1647) that stresses a simple yet elegant beauty. The term was normally used to denote a highly sophisticated form of construction with its roots in the Heian period. Kireisabi, a combination of the terms kirei, meaning beauty or refinement, and *sabi さび, referring to rustic simplicity which became the dominant mid-17c aesthetic in chanoyu, usurping temporarily the dominant position of *wabi わび. Kireisabi involved a substantial lightening and greater articulation of the *chashitsu 茶室 interior, ornamentation of surfaces, expansion of the number and types of tea wares displayed, and the infusion of a strong literary consciousness into the tea gathering. Kohouan Bousen 孤篷庵忘筌, and Ryoukouin Mittan 竜光院密庵 at Daitokuji 大徳寺 in Kyoto, are quintessential examples of kireisabi inspired design. Although the greater flexibility and broad appeal of kireisabi has led to its designation as daimyoucha 大名茶 (tea designed for military patrons), Enshuu also sought to infuse his chanoyu with the beauty and spiritual depth associated with the early-medieval ideal of *yuugen 幽玄 "mysterious depth" as exemplified by the poetry and critical writing of Fujiwara Teika 藤原定家 (1162-1241). Enshuu's kireisabi greatly influenced 17c artistic production, in particular chashitsu and garden design, decoration of tea room interiors, production of tea wares, and the creation of tea implements. The aesthetic also affected the collecting and reevaluation of older tea wares as well as pieces of calligraphy and painting, especially those associated with the waka 和歌 tradition. The kireisabi aesthetic can also be seen in the painting style of artists who studied with Enshuu including Shoukadou Shoujou 松花堂昭乗 (1584-1639) and Kanou Tan'yuu 狩野探幽 (1602-74). Moreover, Enshuu's kireisabi influenced the chanoyu practiced by Kanamori Souwa 金森宗和 (1584-1656) which in turn influenced the development of *kyouyaki 京焼 epitomized by Nonomura Ninsei 野々村仁清 (?, ca.1661-81).


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