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.”

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.




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。