For Immediate Release

Contact:Deborah Gilleran
732.987.2266
gillerand@georgian.edu

Japanese Tea Ceremonies to Be Held at Georgian Court University

Lakewood, N.J., March 11, 2008—On Friday, March 28, five authentic tea ceremonies will be demonstrated for the public in the Georgian Court University teahouse, one of the few surviving Meiji Dynasty (1868–1912) teahouses. The ceremonies will be performed by Teamaster Fumiko Nakao and her students, dressed in traditional kimonos woven with gold and platinum threads. The event, presented by Phi Alpha Theta (the History Honor Society) and Clionaes (the History Club), is part of GCU’s Centennial Celebration.

A Japanese tea ceremony is both an art form and a ritual. Learning how to make tea is not that difficult. But understanding the true meaning of the ceremony and the correct usage of the tea tools is. One must be able to appreciate the four basic elements of the tea ceremony: harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility.

Drinking tea is also a form of spiritual release. The tea guests sit on the tatami drinking tea and admire the calligraphy as well as the rustic bowls in which Japanese tea is served. They feel that they are leaving the hustle and bustle of city life and drifting into utopia. This is a state of wabi, a calm and content mood underlined by simplicity and grace.

Ceremonies will be performed at the teahouse in the historic Japanese Garden on the Lakewood campus at 10:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. All of the ceremonies are sold out. Please contact the Office of Public Information and University Communications at 732.987.2266 or gillerand@georgian.edu for photo and press access to any of the ceremonies.

History

The GCU teahouse is part of the original George Jay Gould estate, built at the turn of the 20th century and sold to the Sisters of Mercy in 1924 for the college. The Japanese Garden was a birthday gift from George to his wife, Edith, inspired by a family trip to Japan and built between 1909 and 1910. The noted garden designer Takeo Shiota (1881–1946), best known for his design of the Japanese Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, designed the Georgian Court Garden.

The teahouse, a genuine Sukiya with low-pitched roof, was acquired by one of Gould’s art collectors in England, disassembled, and shipped to the estate. It was reassembled within the garden at the end of a roji, or garden path. The ceiling is less than six feet high, and true to Japanese custom, the interior accommodates no more than five people at a time.

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves over 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at 90 Woodbridge Center Drive in Woodbridge and at Coastal Communiversity in Wall and Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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