Mizuya Preparation Room

The preparation room is an area adjacent to a tea ceremony room or Chashitsu used to make preparations for performing the tea ceremony. It can be considered being a special kitchen as in a residence but without a furnace, refrigerator and other modern equipment. Preparation rooms or Mizuya are usually 2 or 4, 1/2 tatami mats in size. The contents of the preparation room (mizuya) are as follows: storage shelves of varying types, a cupboard, sink or Misara and drain covered by a slatted drainboard or Nagashisunoko, and pegs for hanging cloths. Sometimes either a large rectangular firebox or Dairo or a relatively small cylindrical one called Ganro, is provided for boiling water when preparing meals to be served in the tea ceremony room. Everything needed for preparation and serving the tea ceremony has a designated place on the shelves or in the cupboard. Charcoal is also stored in the mizuya. The various tools found in the mizuya are called mizuya gatte. It is not clear when mizuya per se was created. The Chadou Sentei says that originally there were no mizuya but instead, preparation for the tea ceremony was performed on the veranda. It also states that the first use of mizuya is to be found at Fushin'an, Kyoto, in a 3-mat daime room. The room now has one long shelf attached to the wall at each end, a drop shelf suspended beneath it, and double hanging shelves or Nijuudana above it. There is no doubt that mizuya existed in the Momoyama period (1568-1615). The mizuya is mentioned in anecdotes concerning its use by Takeno Jouou (1502-55) and Sen Rikyuu (1522-19). Furthermore, many tea ceremony rooms extant from the end of the 16c have Mizuya. Measurements for Mizuya and their various features are not uniform but differ according to period and school. Only a general average can be given based on a number of styles such as Senke, Enshuu, Fumai, Yabunouchi, Sansai, Souhen, and others. These are about 161cm in height, 145cm wide, 55cm deep; the panel on lower part of wall about 33cm high, bottom shelf about 45cm high, middle shelf about 61cm high and square shelf about 79cm high. Where no regular Mizuya exists or it is inaccessible, a portable assemblage of tea ceremony utensils, called Okimizuya, is set in the corner of a hallway for temporary use. Standard measurements are 114cm long, 105cm high and 41cm deep. However, recently many are made the width of a half mat: 84cm x 114cm. Wood of the cinnamon tree is considered best but some are made of cedar.


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