When folks strolled into the lobby of Burke Hall on Sunday, they sauntered up to the bar—a tea bar, actually. There they had their pick between three varieties of tea supplied by ZenCha Tea Salon in Columbus, including matcha, the powdered green tea traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies.
The matcha made sense, since the 75 people who showed up at Burke were there to witness an actual tea ceremony sponsored by the Freeman Foundation in conjunction with the East Asian Film and Lecture Series.
The afternoon began with the sounds of a koto, a stringed Japanese instrument, meant to set the tone for the ceremony itself, which incorporates the four tenets of harmony, respect, tranquility, and purity. The live music was followed by a lecture by I-cheng Huang, owner of ZenCha, which served as a primer to the main event performed by five women from a certified Urasenke School, a school dedicated to the art, culture, and history of the tea ceremony.
The ceremony was tied to one of Denison Museum’s current exhibitions, “Turning Leaves: Tea through Time and Around the World,” which examines tea across cultures. So, if you didn’t make it to the tea ceremony, there’s still time to learn about Japanese (and Chinese and Burmese and Tibetan) tea culture. The exhibition is on display through Dec. 9.