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Meditative Moments

April 6-29, 2012
Pavilion Gallery
Regular Garden Hours
Included with Garden Admission

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For centuries, the remarkable healing properties of tea have been recognized in Eastern medicine. An infusion of tea leaves brought alertness and energy to Buddhist monks who needed to stay awake during the long hours of meditation that were required in their spiritual practices. Rich in vitamin C, green tea is recognized today as an anti-oxidant, perhaps effective in preventing cancer. Shared eagerly among friends in cultures around the world, a cup of hot tea is considered a true luxury today as it has been for nearly two thousand years.

In Japan, the custom of tea drinking was elevated to an art form. For Zen Buddhist priests and sophisticated laymen of the 15th century, the practice of Chado, the Way of Tea, involved a deep commitment to a spiritual path to attaining harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility in daily life. Performing what has been referred to as the “tea ceremony,” while based originally on the simplest act of sipping a bowl of tea with friends, has evolved more complex aesthetic and spiritual implications.

Chanoyu, the practice of preparing tea in this manner, requires a tranquil setting and meticulous attention to detail. A long history of creating exquisite environments in which to conduct these events resulted in the production of marvelous crafts—tea bowls, scoops, whisks, jars, containers, and braziers—as well as fine hanging scroll paintings and calligraphy.

Richard Milgrim is one of the rare non-Japanese potters who has reached the heights of recognition not only in the U.S. but also in Japan, where his work is highly sought after. Milgrim’s work has been lauded by the grand master of the prestigious Urasenke School of Tea in Kyoto. This exhibition of his tea ceramics is part of the 2012 Art in the Garden series that explores the theme of Healing Garden with exhibitions and lectures that focus on the Japanese approach to health and well-being.

To complement Mr. Milgrim’s tea utensils, we are most honored to show a selection of hanging scrolls by the internationally acclaimed painter Hiroshi Senju, whose famous waterfall paintings hang in many of the great museums around the world. Mr Senju divides his time between his studio in New York and his work as President of the Kyoto University of Art and Design.

Tea Ceramics of Richard Milgrim

A native of New York, Richard Milgrim first visited Japan in 1977 as a college student and traveled throughout the country, researching ceramics and Japanese arts. After receiving a degree in Fine Arts and Japanese Studies from Antioch College, Milgrim began a dedicated study of both Japanese pottery and the Japanese tea ceremony with an apprenticeship with Iwabuchi Shigeya, master potter in Kyoto. Mr. Milgrim’s first one-man show was held in Kyoto in 1981. In 1984 Milgrim acquired a traditional farmhouse in the village of Yotsuya (near Kyoto) and built his own kiln. Dr. Sen Genshitsu, the former grand master of the Urasenke tea tradition, named the kiln Richado-Gama, a truly rare honor as the Chinese characters are not only pronounced the same as Richard’s real name in English, but each of them is inseparably related to who and what Mr. Milgrim is and does.

Paintings by Hiroshi Senju

Hiroshi Senju, known as the “waterfall artist,” is an internationally acclaimed Japanese painter who lives in New York and has devoted his talent and energy to promoting traditional Japanese paintings and techniques the world over. Senju’s latest works of magnitude include the waterfall monuments at the international terminal of Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, the Cultural Hall in Shibuya, the Japanese-style walls for the APEC Conference Hall and an exhibition with Kaii Higashiyama, a famous Japanese artist of the late 20th century. Hiroshi Senju divides his time between New York and Japan, where he is President of the Kyoto University of Art and Design, director of Koyodo Museum, president of Tokyo College of Arts, advisor of The Tokugawa Museum, and vice chairman of The New Life Conference.