Date of Award
Master of Design (MDes) in Interior Studies / Exhibition + Narrative Environments
Nick Haus Heywood
The history of tea dates back to ancient China, almost 5,000 years ago, though at this point tea is well-integrated into the history and civilization of various countries throughout the world. However, China, as the birthplace of the tea ceremony, has lost widespread understanding of the traditions they innovated.
For example, the Sencha method that once flourished in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and the whisked tea method in the Song Dynasty (960-1279) has already been entirely lost. Today the brewing tea methods passed down from the Ming and Qing Dynasties are nearly lost. The Chinese traditional tea ceremony is facing unprecedented challenges since the national transition to a free market economy, which ushered in foreign traditions and a focus on profitability. A further challenge in the survival of these traditions into modernity, in ancient times, the Chinese tea ceremony was usually performed in a natural environment away from the urban area, but for the generation living in modern cities built with steel and concrete nature is distant. The traditional Chinese tea ceremony that advocates people to establish a special harmonious relationship with nature both in physical and spiritual aspects has become an unattainable dream for most city dwellers. So, what can be done to revive the Chinese tea ceremony in our modern city environment?
In the context of urban daily life throughout the world, separate from nature and full of stressors, I want to use the capabilities of space to tell the story of this vital tool to connect humans with nature and each other. This connection is expressed through the five ideological realms of Chinese tea ceremony. There are two parts of the design proposal. Based on Lu Yu's book "The Classic of Tea," which focuses on the tea ceremony during the Tang Dynasty and other articles on tea ceremony culture from both the Ming and Qing Dynasties, combined with the depiction of tearoom arrangement in ancient paintings, this thesis will reveal a blueprint for the physical setting necessary for Chinese tea ceremony culture to survive. The next goal of the design is to apply this blueprint throughout modern urban space, so that the ancient culture can not only enter Chinese people's lives again, but also people who live in other countries. In this way the world will understand the Chinese tea ceremony culture more accurately, and the spirit of this important tradition can be passed on.
Song, Hongli, "Chinese tea ceremony spirit revival" (2023). Masters Theses. 1164.
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