The Tea-House of the Slender Tree

The Tea-House of the Slender Tree by Mortimer Menpes. 1901. Watercolor. Source: Japan: A Record in Colour, facing p. 92. This tea-house seems to be accessed from both sides, and to have a garden at that back. If so, it was sure to capture the artist's eye:

It is not easy to describe the fascination of a Japanese garden. Chiefly it is due to studied neglect of geometrical design. The toy summer-houses dotted here and there, the miniature lakes, and the tiny bridges crossing miniature streams, give an air of indescribable quaintness. Yet, in spite of the smallness of the dimensions, the first impression is one of vastness. “Who discovers that nothingness is law—such a one hath wisdom,” says the old Buddhist text. That is the wisdom the Japanese gardener seeks, for he also is an artist. There is no one point on which the eye fastens, and the absence of any striking feature creates a sense of immensity. [107]

Menpes has a whole chapter on gardens, and this painting, suggesting a garden behind the the tea-house of the "slender tree," makes a good introduction to it. — Jacqueline Banerjee

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Menpes, Dorothy. Japan: A Record in Colour. London: Adam & Charles Black, 1901. Internet Archive version of a copy in the University of California Libraries. Web. 26 June 2019.

Created 26 June 2019