The Death of the Tea Master

Early this year, I had the opportunity to write an article about Sen-no-Rikyu, Japan’s foremost tea master. Born in 1522, he shaped the Japanese tea ceremony like no other – inventing wabi-sabi on the side. Rikyu rose through the ranks and eventually, he served the country’s leaders Nobunaga and Hideyoshi – until the latter commanded him to commit suicide in 1592.

My article details his life and legacy and was published last month in the 20th issue of EATEN, a print and digital magazine devoted to food history.

The reason I’m sharing this here is because I’m so immensely pleased with the illustrations the editor chose to accompany my piece. They are woodblock prints from 1896 and capture the essence of Rikyu’s tea ceremony perfectly.

As a writer, there is always a bit of apprehension when it comes to images for one’s articles; this is nothing we can influence. When they turn out so wonderfully, it’s cause for extra celebration.

The whole magazine is stunning (a few photos are on the website above) and it’s well worth reading. Other articles in this drink-themed issue center on the connection of NASCAR and bootlegging, how to make the perfect cup of coffee, and it includes a number of recipes enjoyed by Oxford Dons in 1835. Cheers!

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