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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Timothy Olson
ART H 317
Seattle Campus

Chado-Japanese Esthetics

History, theory, and practice of chado, or Way of Tea, a Zen-inspired art that has had notable effects on Japanese society. Lectures on esthetics and cultural history supplemented by participation in chado, with the goal of developing sufficient understanding and skill to continue chado as a discipline.

Class description


Instructor email address: Students interested in enrolling should contact the instructor by email. Please mention your major, as first preference is given to Art History majors, Asian Studies and Japanese language majors. Students with an interest in and some experience with Japanese art, culture or language, or who can demonstrate the importance this class could have on their general academic program are encouraged to apply, so please briefly discuss these topics in your email. Instructor may request an in-person or phone interview in addition.

There is a $150 studio fee for this course payable to instructor by the third week.

You must be able to sit in a kneeling position for up to 15 minutes to take this class.

The course traces the evolution of tea drinking in Japan from the monastic ritual imported from China and an amusement among the early Samurai to its culmination as an aesthetic and ethical discipline which has had profound influence on the arts of Japan since the 16th Century through the Wabi ideal of beauty and the spirit of Zen. Patterns of movement for guest and host, the aesthetics of the tea setting and utensils are experienced first hand in the studio. Weekly lecture: Tuesdays, 2:30-4:20 , weekly studio (off campus): Thursday, 2:30-4:20pm.

Because of space and equipment limitations for the studio sections, enrollment is strictly limited to 24 students.

Studio is located in the Hawthorne Hills neighborhood northeast of the UW campus, easily accessible by city bus. Carpooling possibilities can also be explored at first lecture meeting.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Weekly lecture explores the history and aesthetics of the way of tea through talks, slides, and films. Studio sessions acquaint students with actual tearoom practices through one-on-one instruction and performance of the roles of guest and host.

Recommended preparation

The ability to sit, Japanese-style (kneeling position), on the tatami floor is required. Experience in Japanese language, culture, or art history is useful. Most of the lecture material will be completely new to you, there is a lot of it, and much of the terminology is Japanese, so fluency in English, and excellent note-taking skills and memorizing ability are necessary for success in this course.

Class assignments and grading

Required reading in _Tea in Japan_ (available to borrow in the Art Library or for purchase at the Bookstore) supports, but is not a substitute for lecture material. A short research paper will be assigned.

Results of two mid-terms and a final exam, the research paper, and studio performance are given equal weight and averaged to determine the final grade. Lecture material as assembled by the instructor is not duplicated elsewhere (i.e., on a website), so attendance at lectures is critical to success in the examinations.

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Timothy Olson
Date: 01/13/2014