Antiques 5-22-10

I didn’t really look at anything new this week. I have some pictures of Mr. Kawase’s 50th. year anniversary tea gathering. Old school all the way. He is wearing a kimono made from paper, the name is kamiko. This type of kimono is used in the annual Mizutori ceremony in Nara’s Todaiji temple held since the 8th. century. The paper is made from about 40 sheets of paper that are extremely stiff. It is softened by rubbing the paper together and then treated with persimmon juice, actually the tannin from persimmon. In the ceremony he used a lot of the items I have written about here. The tea ceremony was notable in that the quality of the ware used was very high and there are very few Japanese or non-Japanese for that matter that can muster the range and quality of work for a single gathering. There were 50 people at the gathering. I wasn’t invited so can only write about it second-hand. About 10 of the items used in the ceremony have already found homes. I asked how Mr. Kawase decides who gets a piece if more than one person wants it. There are a couple of ways. A silent bid “auction”. A different method is a traditional Japanese way. A long tasselled whip like thing is used. It has a handle with about 20 or so strings hanging off of it. One of the strings has a metal ring attached to it. The tassels are twisted, wound so as to obscure which tassel has the ring. The bundle is then held so as to obscure the ring, leaving the ends of the tassels hanging out. If there are 3 people doing the “drawing of the straws” 3 tassels are left out, one for each of the participants. The participants then take one of the tassels. The person holding the bundle lets go and the person that has the tassel that has the ring is the winner. I have seen this in auctions used almost every auction. There is almost always an exchange of cash which I have not figured out.

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