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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 1998
Format: Paperback
I have the ninth edition (1989) which does not credit Michele Sadler. This is the most enjoyable and informative overview of the topic I have yet found. It covers everything from the shapes of the tea kettles to the landscape design surrounding famous tea rooms.
The book is interesting in that it discusses many particulars of the tea ceremony and its equipment, but balances this information nicely with many anecdotes which convey the "feeling" of the tea ceremony. The book also provides the reader with valuable historical insight about the development of the tea ceremony.
An important feature of the book is that the index contains the Kanji characters for the items listed.
I did not give the book a five star rating because it has black and white plates which do not adequately convey the colors of the tea bowls, and because many particulars of the tea ceremony could have been given more comprehensive treatment.
I have, however, re-read my copy several times, and I think that it is well worth adding to your book collection.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
Arthur Lindsay Sadler's "Cha-No-Yu" is one of those indispensable yet oddly quaint classics from the golden age of studies in Japanese Culture, back in the day when such was merely a small subset of "Oriental Studies" and you could get away with giving your book an obvious and self-explanatory title with a straight face. These were also the days when simply making knowledge on Japan available to English speakers was rightfully considered worthy of scholarly care in and of itself--no obscurely verbose excursions into critical theory nor bad-humored ideological critiques, just the facts narrated with warm sympathy. Which means that these good old classics remain useful years and even decades after their first publication, and that's certainly the case for this book, a fine facsimile reprint by Tuttle of the original 1933 edition. The wealth of information on the Japanese Tea Ceremony contained within the confines of these pages is as staggering as it is intriguing.

Perhaps accidentally mirroring Tea aesthetics, the book is astoundingly asymmetrical, consisting of three chapters of wildly varying length and character. The first chapter is 92 pages and goes into the many details about the actual tea ceremony: its customs and procedures, its utensils and settings, its early history and philosophical background. Some of the seemingly nitpicky step-by-step descriptions herein can border on the tedious at times, but it is what it is (as they say)--if you want to know what the Tea Ceremony is like, this is an important part of it. The massive second chapter takes up more than half of the book and is perhaps the most interesting in some ways. It brings together well over a hundred anecdotes related to Tea, from its early practitioners and formulators in the late 1500's (Murata Shuko, Ashikaga Yoshimasa, Sen no Rikyu, and so on) until those of the mid-1800's, roughly around the end of the Tokugawa period (Ii Naosuke and Shibata Zeshin, for instance). An overwhelming majority of these involve Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and the Tokugawa Shoguns as well as daimyo lords and samurai more generally. These are of great historical interest (even if not all the tales are literally true exactly--especially so, in fact) and demonstrate the gradual but inexorable mutual imbrication of the Tea Ceremony and warrior culture during this formative time in Japan's history. Many are entertainingly witty, too. Finally chapter three is less than ten pages (!) and is more like an appendix, listing the different schools of Tea Ceremony, genealogical details, and sample programs and menus.

If the book has one major drawback, it's that it's a bit disorganized (asymmetrical perhaps?). The occasionally random arrangement can well lead to confusion or at least disorientation, and whole chunks of narrative on another related but distinct subject will at times interrupt the flow of Sadler's discussion. In other ways the passage of time has been, well not unkind exactly, but a bit bad-tempered with this classic. The anecdotes of chapter two seem to be extremely loose translations and paraphrasings from a jumble of primary and secondary Japanese sources with no real notes or clear source indications--apparently okay at the time but bound to strike us today as an unacceptably blithe disregard for basic scholarly method. The many illustrations throughout the book are also state of the art 1930's--and are indeed still helpful but unavoidably a bit meager by our printing standards today. But that's as may be, and anyway with this book as a solid basis the curious reader will know what to look for if they want to find out more. And A.L. Sadler's warm enthusiasm and pleasantly erudite presentation here is surely bound to inspire such curiosity.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I purchased this book thinking that it would be a very good source for beginners, it is not.

However this book is a MUST HAVE for more advanced tea ceremony praticioners. The book is very detailed and contains a vast wealth of knowledge and information. The book has a history section, and even goes itno the various elements of tea gardens. Everything and anything I can think of is covered in this book, its an amazing reference.

If you are a beginner look elsewhere - this book is perfect for indepth knowledge and research into the matter.
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on March 18, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I'm still reading...thus far, I am amazed by the detail and beauty involved. Such a well written book. Also, the book sellers were excellent. A+ experience over all.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
THIS WAS A REAL INFORMATIVE BOOK COVERS ALL THE BASICS AND MORE
ITS A NICE AND THICK BOOK NOT LIKE A FLYER . GREAT BOOK .
WORTH EVERY PENNY .
AZ
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