June 21, 2019

Toriawase is a centuries-old way of enjoying art works rooted in the culture of the Way of Tea – Tea Ceremony. The literal meaning of the word is: “pick up a few things and put them together.” When it is used in the context of the Way of Tea culture, it refers to the careful selection of all the tea utensils, scrolls, and flower arrangements needed for one specific tea event, or tea ceremony, according to a chosen theme. 


Doesn’t it sound familiar?  You do it always before your parties, gatherings, or events don’t you?


The object of Toriawase is to bring harmony between these elements of beauty. It means carefully paying attention to the calls and responses exchanged by the various objects of art, design and craft chosen specifically for the event. It is different from any scholarly interpretation of these works. The interpretation can only cloud your instinct and muffle the voice between the art works.  To create harmony between all the different elements that compose a tea event is part of the essence and joy of “way of tea.” It takes mastery to orchestrate and achieve this level of harmony. To illustrate how my family approached Toriawase, I will share a story from my childhood. 


If you want to search “toriawase” on internet, be careful not to go to –moriawase. Toriawase and Moriawase are two totally different words.



About the author

Misako Mitsui

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