By the early nineteenth century, it had become popular with a wide spectrum of urban and rural residents. Some took up sencha as a subversive activity in opposition to the mandated protocol of chanoyu. Others enjoyed sencha because of its connections with elite Chinese culture, knowledge of which indicated intellectual and cultural refinement. Still others relished it simply as a fine tasting beverage. Sencha inspired painters and poets and fostered major advances within craft industries from ceramics to metalwork and basketry. Sencha aficionados, many of whom became serious connoisseurs of Chinese art and antiquities, hosted some of the earliest public art exhibitions.
Tea of the Sages opens with a chronological overview of tea in China and its transmission to Japan before situating sencha within the rich milieu of Chinese material culture available in early modern Japan. Subsequent chapters outline the multifaceted history of the formalization of the sencha tea ceremony, drawing upon sources such as treatises and less formal writings as well as analysis of tea gathering records, utensils and their prescribed arrangements, paintings, prints, and sencha architecture.
Kakuzo Okakura (1863–1913) was an administrator and scholar whose writings helped shape the West’s early views of Japan and Asia.
Most people think Jane Austen wrote only six novels. Fortunately for us, she wrote several others, though very short ones, while still a young girl.
Austen was only twelve or thirteen when she wrote The Beautifull Cassandra, an irreverent and humorous little masterpiece. Weighing in at 465 occasionally misspelled words, it is a complete and perfect novel-in-miniature, made up of a dedication to her older sister Cassandra and twelve chapters, each consisting of a sentence or two.
Narrating the slightly criminal adventures of the sixteen-year-old title character, The Beautifull Cassandra gives us Austen’s most irrepressible heroine, who, after stealing a hat, leaves her mother’s shop to flounce around London, eating ice cream (without paying), taking coach rides (without paying), and encountering handsome young ladies and gentlemen (without speaking)—all to return home hours later with whispered joy: “This is a day well spent.”
This charming edition features elegant and edgy watercolor drawings by Leon Steinmetz and is edited by leading Austen scholar Claudia L. Johnson. In her illuminating afterword, Johnson calls The Beautifull Cassandra “among the most brilliant and polished” of Austen’s youthful writings—a precocious work written for the amusement of her family but already anticipating her mature irony, sense of the absurd, gift for parody, and, above all, stylistic mastery.
The result is a marvelous edition of a literary treasure that is sure to delight.