Matsudaira Fumai | Letter
Although he was very successful as a Daimyo Matsudaira Fumai is remembered today as an eccentric tea master, an aesthete, and connoisseur of tea utensils, wares and artifacts. As he was an authority on all aspects of tea, people would also ask him for advice, for example on how to prepare the break (Nakadachi) in the procedure of a formal tea gathering. And as probably always the most important bit comes to the very end: Don't waste time!
The style of expression is rather plain this letter might have been the answer to one of his disciples requests. And the fact that there is no addressee may indicate that this was some sort of post scriptum to a letter.
"How to prepare the Nakadachi-pause? It depends on the length of Roji-path. With a long path, prepare the pause right after the meal is withdrawn. We water the garden and path. If there is a bench inside of a Nakaguri-gate, the outside pathway does not need to be watered. We water until the bench. If the bench is outside, the whole pathway needs to be watered. If there are leaves scattered around the garden and look unpleasant, sweep them under a tree. All the bamboos and stepping-stones in the view need to be watered. We keep in mind that in summer we water the trees, in winter water the stones. But most important is not to waste time."
Matsudaira Fumai (1751 - 1818)
Ink on paper
15 x 48.5 cm (6 x 19 in.)
Mounting 130 x 54.5 cm (51 x 21 ½ in.)
Wooden box with inscription.