Continued from Essential Low-Ranking Chadogu for Ceremony of Tea – Part 1
Kōgō (香合) – The Incense Container
The Kōgō(香合) is the Chanoyu incense box. It consists of a lidded container and is typically made of either ceramic, wood, or lacquered wood depending on the type of brazier or hearth used. The Kōgō design can be of a simple creation or a more artistic creation in the shape of flowers or animals.
Incense is carried to and from the tea ceremony by the host inside the charcoal basket. One piece of incense is placed atop the lit charcoal to create a pleasing fragrance throughout the tea ceremony.
Kō (香) – The Incense
Kō 香 is simply incense in Japanese. Traditionally, the host only brings three pieces of incense to the tea ceremony. It is delivered inside the incense container that is placed inside the charcoal basket.
One piece of incense is laid upon the lit charcoal with incense chopsticks to create a soft and pleasing fragrance in the tea room.
Binkake (瓶掛) – The Portable Brazier for Tetsubin Kettles
The Binkake (瓶掛) is a rather small brazier that is portable. During the Chanoyu, charcoal is laid inside to heat the water in the cast iron tea kettle known as a tetsubin. The tetsubin kettle has a lid, spout, and top handle for easy pouring.
Hishaku (柄杓) – The Bamboo Water Ladle
The Hishaku is a simple bamboo ladle with a long handle. It is used to remove heated water from the kama pot to the Chawan for the making of tea during Chanoyu. At the end of the tea ceremony, it may be used to replenish fresh water back to the kama in order for the water level to be replenished to same level as at the start of the ceremony – to bring all things back.
Per tradition, the Hishaku is brought to the tea room with the waste water container (Kensui) confirming its position as an inferior dogu. Different sized Hishaku are utilized for various seasonal ceremonies. For example, a larger version of the Hishaku will be used for purification of guests before a tea ceremony. Although considered an inferior instrument, the Hishaku can serve many functions during a tea ceremony.
Study the Art of Chanoyu to Become an Expert
Mastering Chanoyu is a lifetime practice. To fully understand the philosophy, artistry, and procedure of Chanoyu and Chadogu requires a studied mindfulness.
If you are interested in learning more about Chanoyu, I recommend a deeper study through those who know well the taeme (procedure) of the beauty of Chanoyu.
I hope you have enjoyed our little adventure highlighting some of the humble Chadogu of the Japanese Tea Ceremony. As you venture further toward a greater understanding and mastery of the Japanese Tea Ceremony taeme, may you never forget to to always enjoy your Japanese green tea.
Author Kei Nishida is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program, and uses product images with permission