Saturday, December 02, 2006

Nigiri-guchi, the entrance for a teahouse

Daitokuji Temple, Kyoto sightseeing
This is a little entrance for a little teahouse. The entrance is about 80 centimeters square.

Why is it so small??

There are mainly two reasons.

First, the small entrance is to put the differences of the class aside. Samurais, high-ranking social class of warriors, used to exist in those days. (In Japan, the class society used to exist in those days. The members were samurais, traders, craftworkers and peasants. Samurais were superior to the others. Now the class no longer exist.) They always carried a sword, katana, with them. The sword is the symbol of samurais, or their class. Samurais without the sword meant that they were equal to the other classes.

Samurais needed to put the sword aside to pass through the small door. This meant that all the classes were equal in the teahouse and that the social class had nothing to do with a tea ceremony. This is one of the most important spirits of tea ceremony.

Second, the entrance were made small to suit the smallness of a teahouse. The small entrance make the small house feel natural. If the entrance is normal size, people will feel the house too small.

That's why the entrance is very small.

By the way, I personally like the light from the entrance into the inside.


Location by Google Map


At 12/02/2006 9:20 AM, Blogger Victoria said...

Beautiful photo (the lighting! the shadows!), and an interesting explanation.

At 12/02/2006 11:23 AM, Blogger Kate said...

What a serene and lovely looking environment.

At 12/02/2006 1:58 PM, Blogger Carol said...

Very nice photo. I love the lighting and the beautiful wood.

At 12/03/2006 12:51 AM, Anonymous walter said...

Interesting concept. Are symbolic small entrances used in other types of buildings as well?

At 12/03/2006 3:49 AM, Anonymous susan in atlanta said...

Very interesting information about the history. I like that you included the history with your photo!

At 12/04/2006 6:50 PM, Blogger Ben said...

I also heard that small entrance was made for everyone to bow when entering to the room. It's same thing that Makcy told us that to make everyone in same.

Very clean nice shot, BTW.

At 12/04/2006 8:23 PM, Blogger macky said...

victoria, kate, carol, walter, susan in atlanta and ben
Thank you for the comments and for being interested in this article.
walter: the small entrance is used only for small teahouse.
ben: Exactly! This small house made the high-ranking people bow. Senno Rikyu loved to use this small entrance.

At 12/04/2006 11:43 PM, Blogger Jing said...

really very interesting information about the teahouse and samurais, who were my favourite figures in Japanese history.
I saw some Japanese movies about Samurais, so fantastic~~(its hard to remember the names of them,translated from Japanese to Chinese, and i dont know how to translate them into English.)

shanghai daily photo


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