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By Okakura Kakuzo
A slight, yet profoundly influential work, The Book of Tea, originally published in 1906, transcends the confines of it's title to present a holistic concept of nature, art and life. The Japanese born (and subsequently self-exiled) Okakura, traveled extensively from Yokohama to Paris to Bombay, New York and eventually Boston, where is was an early cultural activist, and curator of oriental art at the Boston Museum. Throughout his journeys he engaged with luminaries such as Henry James, Ezra Pound, John Singer Sargent, Rabindranath Tagore and Henri Matisse.
"Georgia O'Keeffe loved The Book of Tea. The similarities between her own life and the Japanese tea ceremony were obvious- her constant manner, her humility, her exactness, her utterly respectful exactness." --Christine Patten, author of Miss O'Keeffe
Hardcover / 103 pages / black & white illustrations / Published by Benjamin Press 2013
Dimensions: 8.6" x 0.5" x 9.3"
About the Author:
Okakura Kakuzo was born in the bustling seaport of Yokohama in 1862, only eight years after Commodore Perry's "Black Ships" pried open Japan's international trade gates. Christian missionaries taught him to speak English and sing Methodist hymns, while Buddhist monks schooled him in Confucianism and drinking green tea. Working alongside his teachers at Tokyo University, all imported from New England, Okakura helped save Japan's artistic traditions from being tossed aside in favor of modern Western aesthetics.
By the turn of the twentieth century, Okakura had made his way to Boston, where he became the Director of the Asian Arts Department at the Museum of Fine Arts and the favorite companion of Back Bay society's grande dame, Isabella Stewart Gardner. Okakura found tea to be the perfect metaphor for interpreting the Japanese art spirit to a Boston culture thirsty for a counterpoint to America's headlong rush into materialism and wealth. The Book of Tea was first published in 1906 and has never been out of print. It is one of the most influential books ever written for those looking to infuse the tea spirit into their lives.