A fabulous carved wooden tray in the sencha style of a ragged leaf, highly detailed on both sides, the underside carved with a poem and signed by the artist. It is 57 x 30 x 4 cm (22-1/2 x 12 x 1-1/2 inches) and is in perfect condition, dating from the early 20th century.
Sencha, as we know it today, started to gain popularity during the 18th century with the rise in Literati thought in Japan. This is partly due to the influx of Chinese at the fall of the Ming dynasty in the mid 17th century and how their culture was absorbed into the greater Japanese culture over the subsequent generations. Sencha is a non-powdered green tea, which distinguishes it from the powdered matcha commonly used in formal tea ceremonies. Along with the tea itself, came an appreciation of the accoutrements and aesthetic which were quite different from those used in powdered tea. Chinese literati culture emphasized simplicity, natural beauty, and a deep connection to the natural world. These values resonated with Japanese tea practitioners who incorporated them into their own tea culture. They overlapped with concepts like "wabi-sabi," which celebrates imperfection and transience, and "yūgen," which suggests a subtle, profound beauty. It manifested itself in many aspects of Japanese culture, including architecture, garden design, painitng and all related crafts. Overall, the influence of Chinese steeped tea practices and literati culture on Japanese tea culture has been a rich and multifaceted process. It has contributed to the unique blend of aesthetics, philosophy, and rituals that define Japanese tea culture, creating a distinct tradition that reflects both local innovations and cross-cultural interactions.