What is the proper handling for Oimatsu natsume?
Here’s my translation from the Ueda Ryū bible (with a few things added by me for clarity):
Old Pine tea caddy (Oimatsu)
The original ‘Ancient Pine (Oimatsu)’ tea caddy was made from a branch of the ‘sleeve-brushing pine (sodezuri matsu袖摺松)’ in the garden of Myōki-an 妙喜庵 in Kyōto, the home of the chashitsu Tai-an 待庵. It is from this ‘old pine’ from which the old pine (oimatsu) tea caddy gets its name.
The oimatsu tea caddy has a large, wide body with a hinged lid. The lid cut down the middle and joined with two small hinges.
When displaying the oimatsu tea caddy on a tana, the middle cut is placed vertical.
Equally, when brought into the chashitsu by the host, the host holds the oimatsu with the centre cut vertical.
When placing the chashaku on the oimatsu, it is placed straight vertical, on the left-side of the lid
- Sit in your izumai (formal sitting position for the temae), bow to your guest(s). Take the chawan and place it kari-oki (provisional placement) at the top far limit of the space before your seat. Take the oimatsu with an overhand grip with your RH, handle on top of the LH (bringing the oimatsu to the central point above your lap in line with your solar plexus/navel chakra as always), then place the oimatsu between your seat and the chawan
- Fold your fukusa, take the oimatsu with an overhand grip in your LH, bring in line with your solar plexus above your lap, (with the fukusa clasped in your RH) support the oimatsu lid with your right thumb and the base with your right index and middle fingers above your lap and rest the oimatsu on the palm of your LH
- Continue to purify the oimatsu. Purify the lid with a リ character (one stoke on each side of the lid) and then purify the front body of the oimatsu with a single 一 stroke from left to right
- Support the oimatsu with RH as before, change your LH to an overhand grip and place in front of the mizusashi
- When scooping tea into the chawan, take the chashaku with your RH and rest on your right lap, then the oimatsu with an overhand grip in your LH and rest it on your left lap. Change your grip of the chashaku so you are holding it at the base of your fingers, then (with the chashaku clasped in your RH) support the oimatsu lid with your right thumb and the base with your right index and middle fingers above your lap, and rest the oimatsu on the palm of your LH
- Take the oimatsu over the chawan (still supporting with your RH) and open the right-side lid with our RH.
- As you open the right-side lid, lightly support the top of the left-side lid with your left thumb
- Open your arms so the oimatsu and the chashaku go to the immediate left and right sides of the chawan, scoop matcha into the chawan and close the lid above your lap in line with your solar plexus
- Handle again with your RH, change your LH to an overhand grip and return the oimatsu in front of the mizusashi
- If the guest asks for the haiken of the ryōki (tea caddy and chashaku), place the chawan kari-oki at katte, then bring the oimatsu before your lap as usual. Fold your fukusa and purify with リand 一 as before. Clasp your fukusa in your RH and open the right-side lid, inspecting if the inside lip is clean
- The placement of the ryōki for haiken is the same as usual
- When guests view the oimatsu, they should bring the oimatsu before their lap and open only the the right-side lid to view inside (not take the whole lid off the tea caddy)
I hope that helps. I’d be interested to know the different ways of handling this tea caddy among different traditions.
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Omote uses it for koicha, Ura uses it for usucha.
- Omotesenke uses it for both with a nagao shifuku for koicha of course. Except for the shifuku and yohosabaki the handling is the same for koicha and usucha. This includes the tea arrangement in the chaire which is the vertical line.
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