The tea ceremony in Florence

La cerimonia del tè a Firenze

The ancient Japanese tradition meets the art of Florentine marbling

Sometimes it seems strange, how such different cultures can meet and give life to a unique and particular experience.

Here is how, thanks to the love for traditions, creativity and lively curiosity of a young Japanese traveller, the union between two arts was made possible: marbling and the tea ceremony.

“My name is Yuko, I am Japanese and I dedicate myself to the traditional tea ceremony called “Sencha-do”. I was in Italy for a week at the end of October, bringing my simple tea set with me. One of my intentions was to learn about local traditional crafts and find objects that could be used for Sencha-do.
Marbled paper, the marbling technique in Florence was one of the aspects I wanted to explore further.
In Sencha-do there is the "Bunbou Kazari" (set of stationery objects) originally used for writing poems, practicing calligraphy, painting.
I wanted to recreate a Bunbou Kazari made with objects taken from the Italian artisan tradition.
The first time I saw Italian marbled paper I was immediately fascinated by it: it had been used to decorate a wooden Japanese tea box.
So when I decided to visit Florence I was very happy to know that it was possible to attend a course at Il papiro.
The workshop experience was fantastic. I was told the history of marbled paper and the company. I was able to understand and learn all the processing phases by listening to the explanations and directly seeing the work of their master craftsmen.
I was amazed by their work, they carry out each step simply and naturally like the flow of a river.
Then when it was my turn I repeated what they had shown me and made my own marbled sheet which I then used for the binding of my book. It was all so fun to both learn and do.
Even before my departure I had thought about bringing the set with me to offer Japanese tea in the laboratory. I therefore brought a marbled box very similar to the original for the tea and a small marbled tray on which to put some biscuits.
I liked the idea of ​​letting my guests taste a type of green tea called “Gyokuro” (jade dew) which is one of the best qualities. It is a tea to be savored drop by drop on the tip of the tongue, not by drinking it in large sips. In fact, it has a very strong “Umami” flavor.
The time spent with the Papiro people during the tea ceremony was very pleasant, I hope it was the same for them and they appreciated the Gyokuro with biscuits.
During my activity dedicated to the tea ceremony I came into contact with many forms of craftsmanship. I was fascinated by the craftsmanship, talent and passion with which people create their beautiful creations.
I hope that especially ancient and wise artisan techniques such as those of Il Papiro will also be carried forward by future generations and that they will be a memory for this world of ours.”

We are very honored to have met Yuko and to have contributed to the creation of this beautiful experience. A master of the Tea ceremony who today teaches the ancient Japanese tradition and renews it by integrating it with elements belonging to the Italian artistic tradition. Thank you Yuko, culture and beauty know no boundaries.

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