toucha 闘茶
KEY WORD : art history / crafts
Tea contest. Competitive parties featuring taste and classification of tea developed by Heian period aristocrats and wildly popular in the 13-14c when tea drinking spread from the upper classes to bushi 武士, clergy, and wealthy commoners. The practice originated in Song period China when tea was discriminated by color, fusion of tea and water, and taste. In Japan, chayoriai 茶寄合 (tea parties involving gambling) were banned under the Kenmu 建武 Code of 1336. Emperor Hanazono's 花園 (1297-1348) diary reveals that nobles tried to distinguish tea from Toganoo 栂尾 region of Kyoto (called "true tea" or honcha 本茶) from non-Toganoo teas, hicha 非茶. Later toucha became complicated and prizes more luxurious, with popular games including shishu jippukucha 四種十服茶 (four kinds of tea and ten cups), hyappukucha 百服茶 (100 cups), nanatoko shoubu 七所勝負 (seven places competition), rokushokucha 六色茶 (six color teas), sanshu meicha 三種銘茶 (three kinds of well-known teas), shikicha 四季茶 (four seasons teas), genjicha 源氏茶 (Genji teas) and keizucha 系図茶 (genealogy of tea). These games gradually declined with the development of shoincha 書院茶 (study room tea) and souancha 草庵茶 (hermitage tea). At the time of Sen Rikyuu 千利休 (1522-91), a minor form of tea competition was called kabukicha かぶき茶. In the mid Edo period, tea competition was adapted by the Sen schools as chakabuki 茶かぶき.


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