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Smithsonian App Features W&L Tea Room

When the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art, in Washington, D.C., was preparing a new app, “Charles Lang Freer: Collecting Korea,” the producers wanted to include a film of a Japanese tea ceremony.

So they came to Lexington and filmed in the Senshin’an Tea Room in the Watson Pavilion at Washington and Lee.

The app, available on iTunes, is a guide to the 540 Korean artworks in the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery. Organized chronologically, the app traces museum founder Charles Lang Freer’s life and has a decade-by-decade examination of art with accompanying features.

Once you arrive at 1895-99 and view several of the bowls and objects that Freer bought during this period, there is a short video of a tea ceremony featuring Janet Ikeda, associate professor of Japanese at W&L.

W&L’s Tea Room had its grand opening in 2007 and serves as a classroom and cultural laboratory where students study and practice “temae,” the making of tea, which introduces them to history, literature, art, traditional customs, aesthetics and perceptions of beauty.

In 2011, Sen Genshitsu, the 15th-generation Grand Master of the Urasenke Tradition of Tea, presented the University with the Tea Room’s name, “Senshin’an,” or “Clearing-the-Mind Abode.”

For additional background on the W&L Tea Room, see the video below: