Koshin Sosa | Letter
The tea scoop (Jap. Chashaku) is not more than a simple splinter of bamboo. But not less either. It is a key utensil in tea ceremonies, and it has been described as a tea master's sword. Many tea masters carved their own. One of them was Koshin Sosa.
Koshin Sosa was the great-grandson of Sen Rikyu, and in 1641 he was appointed tea master to Tokugawa Yorinobu (1602 - 1671), one of the sons of Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543–1616) and the founder of the Kii Tokugawa house. When his father Sotan retired in 1646 he became the founding head of the actual Omotesenke lineage. From this time the successive Iemotos of Omotesenke continued to serve as tea masters to the Kii Tokugawa family.
To the Head Priest from Sosa: First of all, you soon have to come back, sit down, and have tea. - When you came last time, I was not there. I was out and made a teaspoon. Should it really say teaspoon here? Not tea scoop? Even though it does not look good, I think it will serve a little. - 9th day of the second month. A few days ago, you have come again. But again, I was not there. I am sorry for this. I'd like to have the pleasure to have you sometime soon.
From about the time of Takeno Jo'o (1502-1555) it became a common practice among tea people to carve their own Chashaku but there were no particular conventions regarding the shape of them. Some had no nodes at all, others a node at either one or both ends. The central node (nakabushi) became popular, and it was Sen Rikyu who made it the standardized form, as it remains today. (Chanoyu Quarterly 54:10)
Koshin Sosa (1619-1672)
Letter to a priest
Ink on paper
16.6 x 42.2 cm (6½ x 16½ in.)
Mounting 44.5 x 93.5 cm (17½ x 36¾ in.)