Tea Bowls and Zen Scrolls: Exploring Japanese Material Culture

September 26, 2012 - November 4, 2012

ceramic censer with metal top

Organized by Professor Morgan Pitelka in connection with his course “Swords, Tea Bowls, and Woodblock Prints: Exploring Japanese Material Culture” (Japanese 351), this installation presents scrolls and ceramic tea vessels marked by a simplicity associated with Zen Buddhism.

Zen concepts such as the universe, emptiness, perfection, and enlightenment are embodied in various aspects of the works on view — in the circular brushstrokes on a 19th-century scroll or in the shape and surface texture of a 17th-century glazed earthenware tea bowl, for example.

Censer, c. 1800; mino ware: glazed earthenware, with silver lid. Gift of Herbert and Ellen-Fairbanks Bodman. 86.67ab.