A translation of this charmingly written blog post.

Chanoyu A Lacadaisical Diary: Tsurigama

In March, don’t you use the tsurigama at the place you practice? I think of Spring when I look at the tsurigama.

Usually, the kettle is set in the hearth on top of the traditional gotoku (an implement that is a circular wheel from which three post rise, claws folded to the inner side), but for the tsurigama we must take away that thing named the gotoku and use the kettle hung from a hirukugi beaten into the ceiling.
I think it is easy for those who haven’t learned tea ceremony to understand the iroi(hearth) in peasent houses of old because of the image of scenes of a meal in a hanging nabe pot over the iroi in travel TV shows.
Slim smallish kettles such as the Cloud-Dragon, Wheel-Axle or Crane’s-Neck are used for the tsurigama. Since the dangling down kettle is different than the kettle left to the gotoku, it is nessicary to be careful to not knock the inner frame of the hearth. There is also a helpless feeling using the hishaku during the temae with the kettle’s rolling sway. This is said to display the elegance of the ephemerality and wind of Spring. As the tsurigama is in March, anticipating this elegance of Spring, there is the lingering meaning of the season when the hearth is finally used with the ash scattered in the hearth increases (actually, it is removed).

The room ettiquette for the tsurigama is different for a large room and a small room. In a large room, the hirukugi beaten into the ceiling is hung with a chain. In a small room any sort of bamboo or plant vine is hung. Upon it, the kettle is hung.
I saw how they did this at the tea room “Rinkaku” in Aidzu, but next to the small room was continued and made a large room called “Kusarinoma (Area of Chain)”. The name of this Kusarinoma originates from the tsurigama’s chain.
When any sort of material is used in a small room, because we think out the feeling of an autumn harvest gathered by the children of a widow encircularing the iroi, it has an appearance of sober refinement compared to a large room.
Considering what sort of material can be used, a wood carved fish for decoration is a lucky thing. This is arranged so the irois fire’s [divination] trigram contrasts with the water trigram. It also has the meaning of a covered fire.

I digress, but the hirukugi is called that name because it has a shape like a leech (hiru). Surely it is so called that since it is like the round blood sucking leech. This nail (kugi) is beaten in opposite the foot of the temaeza; naturally the nail for the chain to hang on is beaten so it comes to the center for the hearth (so that the kama is hanging in the center of the hearth). So that the ceiling doesn’t fall in from the heavy kettle hanging on it, it is the usual thing to nail it in to where a thick wooden beam passes over the ceiling. The nail isn’t usually asked about, but on the occasion of your next practice, please examine it closely.

Since the gotoku is not used in the hearth with the tsurigama, the gotoku futaoki which symbolizes the gotoku can be used. It can be made of iron, bronze, silver, clay and so on. When displaying with a tea shelf, it is set so the ring is on the bottom. Actually when using as a futaoki, the ring is set so it is on the top (set it so that the cup of the hishaku passes onto the centre of two claws of the three). It is not traditional to use the gotoku futaoki if there is already a gotoku in the brazier or hearth; it can be used with kirikake hearth, the sukigi hearth and so on.

Also, concerning the sumi-demae for the tsurigama, since the kettle is hung from the kan, you don’t need to carry in the kan with the sumitori. Then, when hanging or removing it, you get to adjust the length of the chain in the greater raising, lesser raising, greater lowering, and lesser lowering. Since I have never had the experience of doing sumi-demae in a small room, I don’t know what when using an sort of materials. If there is something different from usual, I want to kindly receive that teaching with certainty.

The conventions and elegance of the tsurigama is enjoyable, isn’t it. Since the days of the hearth season grow few, let’s do our best at tea practice!

Advertisements