Oribe's 100 Lines of Chanoyu・Lines 1-50

This month's instalment of Oribe's 100 Lines of Chanoyu is quite interesting from many perspectives.


First, from a research perspective, lines 36 and 37 give us an insight into the evolution of chanoyu manuscripts. 



  • 床ニ道具一種之時、棚ニ二種。
  • When one objet d’art is displayed in the alcove, two are arranged on the display shelf.


  • 床二種之時、必棚ニ一種。
  • When two objets d’art are displayed in the alcove, ensure the number of objets on the display shelf amounts to one.

These lines are consistent with the Question & Answer with Furuta Oribe 茶道長問織答抄 manuscript in that there are only two areas considered in calculating utensils - the alcove and the tana. In the Nampōroku there are three areas considered - the temae mat being the addition. The Nampōroku includes this mnemonic:

  • Between the alcove, tatami and the sideboard: Display utensils two places even one odd; or yet two odd one even. 

The Nampōroku text continues with an example of this:  ". . . An example for the first session is: Alcove: scroll (1) Tatami: kettle or brazier (1) display board: incense container and feather sweep (2) ".


The thinking in the Nampōroku is the same in terms of balancing odd and even numbers, but the thinking is more developed in terms of an additional area (the temae mat) for consideration. Current researchers have the consensus that the Nampōroku was written sometime in the Genroku Era (1688-1704). The fact that both these ‘100 lines’ and the Q&A with Oribe manuscripts do not include the temae mat for consideration with the shelf and alcove may further support the estimated date of the Nampōroku.


Second, lines 41 and 42 show us historical forms of the temae that are all but discontinued now. 



  • 水指をはなれ茶入置申時、今一種道具添可申之事。
  • When a chaire is displayed at a distance from the mizusashi, another utensil should be paired with the chaire.


  • 水指をハなれ候て、三種ニても不苦候。
  • When (a chaire) is displayed at a distance from the mizusashi, one can comfortably display even three pieces.

These lines most likely refer to times when the hishaku was displayed on the  board at the far edge of the daime tatami. There are several entries across the old manuscripts of chanoyu where the hishaku is displayed on this board, often on a futaoki. In the “The Book of Oribe’s Chanoyu” (Oribe Chanoyu-sho 織部茶湯書) we find the following entry with accompanying diagram:

  • 柄杓ハ風炉先窓ノ中敷居ニカウヲカケテ置也。カヤウニ置合ル時ハ茶入ノ大小ニヨリ柄杓モ置ヘシ。柄杓引切斗置合トキハ、畳ノヘリ三ツニ置、引切ノ真中ニヒシャクノエ有様ニエト引切ノ間ハ二寸斗アケ置ヘシ。
  • The cup of the hishaku (can be) placed on the board (at the foot) of the furo-saki window. Depending on the size of the chaire, when displaying utensils like this the hishaku should be paired with the chaire. When displaying just the hishaku and futaoki, the futaoki is placed three tatami weaves away from the rim. The hishaku handle is aligned with the middle of the futaoki, and two sun (6.06cm) should be between the end of the handle and the futaoki.



The version of The Book of Oribe’s Chanoyu (Oribe Chanoyu-sho) published by Shibunkaku is a reproduction of the manuscript at the National Diet Library. This manuscript is a transcription, not the original manuscript, made in the mid Edo Period (1603-1868). All except one of the 70 diagrams in the manuscript are included in the Sōjinboku 草人木 (1627), an almanac of chanoyu teachings compiled from the central references of the day. Though the explanations of the diagram in Oribe’s document differ from those in the Sōjinboku, it appears that The Book of Oribe’s Chanoyu was one of the most important references texts for the Sōjinboku 草人木. 


Lastly, we get a peek at what may be an example of Oribe's original thought in line 47:



  • 風呂の時も、風炉之前ニ茶入置時一種ニても右へより候てハ
  • For the brazier, when displaying a single chaire before the brazier, one might position the chaire to the right.

This is a very interesting entry. A similar line appears in the Kurita-shi manuscript: 

  • 風炉の前ニ茶入置合ノ時、一種御座候、二種ニテモ有之、有へゟニハいかゝ。 
  • When displaying a single chaire before the brazier, whether on its own or paired with another utensil, wouldn’t it be fitting to position the chaire to the right?

By the conversational tone both with line 47 and the line in the Kurita-shi document, it appears that Oribe is adding this line (and therefore his own opinion) into the lines he’s copying form Rikyu’s document. He seems to be suggesting the opposite of when the chaire is displayed in front of the mizusashi. Namely, that two thirds of the chaire is positioned to the right (guest side) and one third to the left (shimo/katte).



To read the rest of this month's material, please head over to my Patreon. The 'Gyō' level will get you Oribe's 100 Lines of Chanoyu. The 'Sō' level will get you all the monthly translations, including the Question & Answer with Furuta Oribe 茶道長問織答抄 manuscript.




- Adam, Paris 

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Comments: 1
  • #1

    Venantius J Pintoi (Monday, 31 August 2020 04:38)

    Truly appreciate your explication. Thank you!