In the West, pottery is usually deemed ““craft”” rather than ““art”” and has long existed near the bottom of the aesthetic hierarchy. In Japan, to the contrary, pottery is among the most highly regarded forms of art, in great part due to its role in the Zen-inspired Tea ceremony. Because the Tea ceremony effectively creates a link between several art forms (landscape, architecture, poetry, calligraphy, pottery, cuisine), a profound and highly codified symbolic system has developed that articulates all art forms, all the while celebrating the chance effects of the heat of the kiln and the cycles of nature. This complex aesthetic system has a radical impact on formal Japanese cuisine, which is of startling complexity and symbolic profundity.

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