Types of Satsūbako (wooden box to contain 2 caddies for thick tea)

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I would like to know, with photos or links to images, the different types of Satsūbako (box to contain 2 caddies for thick tea).

In addition it would be great to know:

  • the dimensions of the different boxes
  • the respective uses of satsūbako in your School
  • is there shin, gyō and sō temae?
  • what combinations of tea caddies are placed in the satsūbako
  • does your School have a special ‘satsū’ tea caddy that is always matched with the satsūbako

The Ueda Ryū does not make explicit its view on a ‘konomi’ satsūbako and the ones we use at Iemoto are not commercially available. The favoured satsū tea caddy we use is chamfered (men-tori) on the lid only, not the lid and bottom like a fubuki shape. It is usually made out of keyaki.

I find the common yarō-buta, paulownia wood satsūbako awkward to use and too small. It would be great to know more about the various satsūbako so that I can investigate either making or purchasing one.

  • Marius Frøisland
    Could you say something about what you mean by satsubako? Satsubako in urasenke is a tiny box used only to hold two koicha, while the larger box that contain more dogu is usually called chabako. Are you looking for the first or the second or something else totaly?
  • Adam Sōmu
    Done. I mean a wooden box to contain 2 caddies for thick tea.
  • Adam Sōmu
    I am unsure how to mark this post as ‘answered’. Clicking on the ‘good answer’ green buttons on the right side makes the screen grey. I’d also like to put the summary I posted higher. Any suggestion as to what I can do?
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Dear all who have replied and considered this post,
My big thanks to you!

I’ve arrived at a point where I’m comfy with the amount of knowledge I’ve gathered from this little bit of research. I’m still not satisfied with any of the dimensions of the satsūbako in popular use (use they do not accommodate the height of many katatsuki chaire with ease), so I’m making one myself.

Gengensai’s favoured ‘de-ai san’ satsūbako gave me some inspiration to get creative with the crosspieces under the lid, so I’m going to do something a little funky.

Throughout the research on this forum question, I can conclude that the satsūbako temae is pretty much open-slather among different schools. There doesn’t seem to be anything consistent with the temae procedures as such, apart from:

  • use of the satsūbako in the temae (no sh*t!)
  • the guiding philosophy of using a gifted tea from the guest, or two koicha you wish to share
  • the material of the satsūbako is uniformly paulownia (kiri) as it was in antiquity when satsūbako were used for transporting small supplies of tea

There seems to be all sorts of combinations of using natsume, nakatsuki, satsū-shaped tea caddies, two chaire, etc. Then to wrap or pouch the natsume in fukusa or shifuku, or not.

I thought it was interesting for John Leon to say that the guest’s cha goes into the chaire and the host’s into the shin-nuri natsume. It seems that the host would have the tea prepared in their own chaire and then, surprised by the guest’s gift of tea, had to whip out another tea caddy to quickly accommodate the gift. A natsume seems more practical here, perhaps reflected by the majority of schools having the host’s tea in the chaire and guest’s in the natsume (or equivalent). I think John Leon is speaking from an Omote-viewpoint. I would have thought it more usual for such a reversal to be an Ura sleight of hand rather than Omote, and leads me to wonder what the stimulus was for this change as I can’t see a practical reason.

Paulownia is a dream wood for chajin:

  • thermal conductivity of paulownia is very low, giving it excellent heat/cool insulation properties
  • resistant to decay and rotting provided it is not in permanent contact with the ground
  • it is very dimensionally stable and is not subject to warping, cupping or splitting even when exposed to outdoor elements
  • has a natural resistance to termites
  • has no odour

It’s pretty obvious why the party people favoured paulownia to transport their precious cha.

In the Ueda Ryū, there were shin gyō and sō versions of the satsūbako temae in the past. The satsūbako used in these different temae changed depending on shin, gyō or sō. The current Grandmaster has taken away shin, gyō, sō temae now as these were additions in the late Edo Period. I was not able to establish if there are shin, gyō or sō versions of the satsūbako temae in other schools.

I have ascertained the different measurements of the different satsūbako and share them here:

Sensō-favoured ‘futa kata san’ or two slat lid  仙叟好(二方桟)
Inside measurements 内寸法

Height 高さ9.2㎝
Length/depth 奥行16.9㎝
Width 幅9.8㎝

Gengensai-favoured ‘de-ai san’ lid 玄々斎好 (出合桟)
Inside measurements 内寸法

Height 高さ10.1㎝
Length/depth 奥行16.1㎝
Width 幅8.2㎝

Rikyu-favoured 利休形 
Inside measurements 内寸法

Height 高さ9.5㎝
Length/depth 奥行15.8㎝
Width 幅8.5㎝

From the Rikyu Chanoyu Sho 利休茶湯書
Inside measurements 内寸
Height 高さ 10.3㎝
Length/depth 奥行 16.1㎝
Width 幅 8.2㎝

Golden Ratio (for fun)
Inside measurements 内寸
Height 高さ 10.5㎝
Length/depth 奥行 16.9㎝
Width 幅 8.3㎝

Measurements I’m considering to fit most katatsuki chaire:

Inside measurements内寸
Height 高さ 11㎝
Length/depth 奥行 16㎝
Width 幅 8.3㎝

 

Thanks again,
Adam

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I guess you are talking about something like this, Adam?  AFAIK, this is an Edo period creation (Rikyu’s was shorter, broader and had one fewer shelves).

The only way I know how to use this is to unpack it completely, but it starts out packed slightly differently from the picture.  From the bottom you have the kensui with the futaoki at its front corner (away from the stem of the ladle, which should be cup opening inwards).  Then of course the mizusashi, then next up is a “prepared” chawan (with chakin and chasen only), and at the top the caddy you choose (either natsume for usucha or rarely a nasu or a taikai for koicha.  The top drawer holds the chashaku only.

Procedure is to place the loaded box (with water in the mizusashi already) at the place you normally put a mizusashi.  The fukusa is in a rectangle shape on top.  Enter, take up the fukusa, open the box and lean the lid on the side away from the furo.  Take out first the futaoki and place it in its location, then the ladle and put it on the rest.  Then the mizusashi comes out and is placed on the side near the heri just in front of the box’s front edge away from the guests (below the futa-oki if you are working with the furo on the left).  The caddy comes next, placed just below that, and finally the chawan comes out to find its place between the kensui and the caddy, so everything is lined up beside you by the heri.  Then you close the box and shift it backwards so that it clears the space where the mizusashi should normally go.  Then rearrange into the standard starting configuration as if Hakobidemae and begin service.

To finish, everything is basically done in reverse, i.e. lined up along the side, the box retrieved, opened and repacked, then closed.  Leave with your fukusa, thus reducing the “count” by one.

Does this help?

  • Elmar

 

  • Adam Sōmu
    Thank you, Elmar. I actually mean the satsūbako that are small wooden boxes for containing two tea caddies for thick tea. The two koicha are prepared in the same temae. Sorry for not being clear.
  • Elmar
    OH! Sorry for misunderstanding. As for the small box used with 2 caddies, Chanoyu-to-wa also discusses these. IIRC, they were essentially presents of Tea from the Shogun, and the temae was koiocha tsuzuki usucha, with the koicha often made as suicha (shared) and thinner than usual so that all the guests could have a taste of the top quality tea. I will try to hunt back through the blog to find it.
  • Elmar
  • Adam Sōmu
    Thank you very much for the further comments and links, Elmar _/\_ After reading Chnoyu-to-Wa, I see a connection to what the Ueda Ryū is doing now with the original sending of the tea (茶 sa (tea) 桶 tsū (send)) in a satsū box. I.e. the satsū container is still raw wood, in a miniature shape of the satsūbako (perhaps it has become more noticeably chamfered over time to avoid double-up with the outer box). Perhaps the wood has changed to keyaki instead of paulownia over time, too, for the same reason. It may be nice to play around with this interesting history and wrap the satsū tea caddy in a fukusa. As Daniel mentions that Oribe was without a clean fukusa and therefore used the one wrapped around the tea caddy from in the satsūbako mid-temae. I wonder if this means Oribe’s fukusa was placed out with the bowl of koicha and the guests had his fukusa with the bowl of koicha. In the old manuscripts of the Ueda Ryū, in the one that contains many of the records between Ueda and Oribe, there is a particularly interesting note of the host’s fukusa being placed out with the koicha. I might have a go at tying a fukusa to a leg of the daisu, another for the satsū, and purify the chaire with the daisu fukusa, then place it out for with the first koicha. Then while the guests’ are using the first fukusa, untie the satsū and use the second fukusa to purify the satsū while the guests’ are drinking the first bowl of koi. Now I’m really looking forward to keiko tomorrow!
  • Marius Frøisland
    Elmar I think your comment with the towa links should be posted as a new answer to highlight it better
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I believe that Omotesenke uses the same boxes or at least the same size boxes as Urasenke. I have only used the kiri kigi type that you say you do not like and are too small. We usually use a small katatsuki chaire and either a shinnuri chunatsume or konatsume in a shifuku. We do not use a anything special other than that they fit in the box. The shifuku are like for any chaire just made for natsume shapes.

Normally in our school it is OK to make koicha with a shinnuri natsume of any size. It is considered OK to use a shinnuri center cut cylindrical tea caddy for koicha but it is very rare. That you use the chamfered tea caddy is interesting. What kind of shifuku is used with this? Also I know of more than one shape that matches your description. What is its name?

 

  • Adam Sōmu
    Thank you for these great pieces of information, John-Leon. The picture is not showing on any of my browsers. The chamfered tea caddy is never placed in a shifuku. The chaire (with the host’s koicha already prepared before the present of koicha from the guest) is left as is, tied in its shifuku. The guests koicha is then placed in the chamfered tea caddy which we call a ‘satsū’ 茶桶. Only top edge of the lid is chamfered and the bottom edge is as for a naka-tsuki. The guest’s tea in the satsū is never placed in a shifuku, it stays as is, plain wood (usually keyaki). There is therefore one chaire in shifuku and one satsū tea caddy not in shifuku in the satsūbako. There is a big emphasis in the Ueda Ryū for the host to be totally responsible for everything in a chaji (no helpers in the mizuya). In what I’ve described above, I guess the ideas behind the decisions are 1. you don’t have time to change to a different chaire that would fit into a smaller satsūbako, therefore we use a fairly large satsūbako at Iemoto. 2. Simply sifting tea and placing into a tea caddy is enough work on top of the exiting things to do in preparation, therefore the shifuku is eliminated for the second satsū tea caddy. On top of this, speed is important in the Ueda Ryu (no drawn out chaji!). Therefore cutting down the time it takes in the temae to de-robe two chaire equals a shorter temae. Further, we avoid using two shifuku in a temae, e.g. we use a tsutsumi natsume or haseh natsume for koicha when we are using a chawan in shifuku so that there is not a double-up of shifuku in the chashitsu during the temae and for haiken. I guess this is carried over to the satsū temae. One more thing, the last Grandmaster’s favoured tea caddy was a ‘mentori nakatsuki’ (a nakatsuki with a chamfered lid). The satsū is very similar in that it is chamfered only on the lid, but there is no mid-cut for the lid. The lid is cut high on the tea caddy. There is therefore a physical distinction for the naming of mentori nakatsuki and satsū tea caddies. I’m really enjoying these replies. Thank you!
  • JOHN LEON LARISSOU
    Thank you and very interesting. We only use the satsu for usucha. The same is true of the mennakatsuki. Koicha is done only with shinnuri natsume and nakatsuki if they are in a shifuku or tsuzumi bukusa for natsume. It is also interesting what you say about lingering chaji. We consider yobanashi chaji ones where one might linger. They certainly can be longer with the zen cha service at the beginning. But back to Satsubako, The guest’s tea goes in the more common ceramic tea container, usually a small katatsuki, while the urushi container is for the host’s.
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reposting: Found the first mention here http://chanoyu-to-wa.tumblr.com/post/22313920649/the-hundred-poems-of-chanoyu-poems-91-100; teh second one here http://chanoyu-to-wa.tumblr.com/post/49166999893/the-three-hundred-lines-of-chanoyu-lines-141

Also, the last post goes into this as well:

http://chanoyu-to-wa.tumblr.com/post/162370544798

  • Elmar

Edited by admin to make the link behave like a link and not get the entire post from Chanoyu To Wa displayed

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I am afraid I cannot answer many of your questions satisfactorily, but Urasenke’s Tankō Center Calme store sells three versions of the satsūbako. Those versions are the same dimensions (to my knowledge) but their lids are different (and so I suppose the body height would slightly change depending on the construction of the lid). See a screenshot I took from the catalogue here: http://imgur.com/a/xI5zg

I am not aware of different versions of the satsūbako temae for Urasenke. It is taught as part of the “shikaden” temae set, but (at least the way I was taught) the chaki are a wamono chaire and a Rikyūgata natsume inside an ōtsubukuro. As such, it is a thoroughly sō temae.

I wonder if the dimensions have to do with the satsūbako being placed on top of a tana? If one were to just use it with a daisu it could definitely get bigger.

I’m also interested in other schools, but to hear about different chaki combinations for Urasenke would be enlightening as well.

  • Philip Hafferty
    After reading Marius’s comment, this answer is of course based on the assumption that what you call the satsūbako and what Urasenke calls the satsūbako are the same thing
  • Adam Sōmu
    Thank you, Philip. There were shin, gyō and sō variations of the satsūbako temae and all other sōden (kyojo) temae until recently. As the shin, gyō, sō classification was not part of the temaes of Oribe and Sōko’s time, the current Grandmaster has eliminated them from the curriculum. In the past, the sō version of satsūbako used a satsū and a chaire, the gyō and shin versions had karamono and other combinations of chaire together in the satsūbako. Now there’s just one.
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Urasenke uses this type og box
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The box is 27,5 cm long, 10cm wide and 11,3 cm high with the lid on.

As far as I know the only difference in the boxes for Urasenke is how the lid is put together

 

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