Tea Ceremony and Fortune-telling:
“Spring’s Start and the Tiger” and “Well Shining Water”. (Part 2)
By Souchuu Sekine

Well, next, let’s try and see Chanoyu’s connection between “water” and “the Hour of the Tiger”. Concerning water suitable for tea, we can look in the Tang Chinese “Tea Classic”‘s “Five Boiled Things”.

“Of that water’s use, best is mountain water, middle is river water, and last is well water.”

Translation:
Concerning boiling water for whisking tea, mountain water is the best to use, river water is middle, and well water the lowest.

Here is stated the ranking of water suitable for tea. Mountain water is ranked as best, river water as middle, and well water as worst. However, in Japan, we use well water, which was called worst in the Tea Classic. Concerning this, Japan is unique from China, in tea ceremony was in cities such as Sakai and Kyoto. Because of the cities’ development, close, easily obtainable, clear well water was used, rather than mountain or river water, I suppose.

However, the reason we use well water isn’t simply that in the cities it is convenient, but rather, based on fortune telling theory. Because water that contains Yang spirit is highly valued, there proceeds an affixed significance to water drawn at the Hour of the Tiger.

About water for tea ceremony, in the Memorandum of the Namboroku, there is such a description as follows.Tea practitioners can truly know how water for tea ceremony is highly valued.

偖、次に茶の湯の「水」と「寅の刻」との関わりを見て見よう。茶に適した水に就いては、次の中国唐代の「茶経」「五之煮」に見る事が出来る。

其水用2山水1上。江水中。井水下。

「訳文」
茶を煮点てる水は、山水を用うるのが上等で、江の水は中等、井戸水は下等で有る。

茲では茶に適する水の順位が述べられて居る。山水が上等、江水(川の水)は中等、井戸水は下等と 位置付けられて居る。然し、日本では「茶経」で下等と呼ばれる井戸水を使用して居る。此れは、中国とは異なり日本では、茶の湯が堺や京都と言った都会で形成発展したことにより、山や川の水では無く、身近に手に入り易く、且つ清澄な井戸水を重用するように成ったからと推測する。

然し、単純に都市に於ける利便性のみの理由から井戸水を使用するのでは無く、易思想に基づいて、陽の気を含んだ水を重要視した事から、寅の刻に汲み上げると言う意義付けを行って居る。

茶の湯の「水」に就いて「南方録」「覚書」に次のような記述が有る。茶人にとり、茶の湯の「水」が如何に重要視されて居たかを如実に知る事が出来る。

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