The custom of drinking matcha (powdered green tea), which developed in the Kamakura period, came from China along with the culture of Zen. At first, tea utensils were also imported from China. So the general term for various imported items, mostly made in China, was 'karamono' (Chinese things). The karamono craft and art works that were used as chanoyu utensils were mainly imported during the Sung, Mongol and Ming dynasties. Especially during the 13th century, in the Kamakura period, many karamono were brought back by Zen priests. In the first half of the 15th century the Muromachi shogunate carried on 'licensed trading' with Ming dynasty China and many things were imported into Japan. At the court of the Muromachi shogun these karamono were evaluated and experts called 'doboshu' appeared who took charge of how to display them and played a great part in the formation of chanoyu. Chanoyu of this time was called 'Shoin no cha' ('shoin room chanoyu', a shoin being a formal reception room).
In the latter half of the 15th century the culture of chanoyu spread into people's everyday lives and utensils made in Japan began to be used. These are called 'wamono'. Japanese ceramics especially, have an usophisticated quality of profound earthiness which is absent in karamono. It was Shuko who brought wamono utensils into the world of chanoyu. Shuko said, in the 'Kokoro no fumi' (Letter on Mastery of the Mind), 'It is very important to erase the border between Japanese and Chinese utensils'. He valued wamono as highly as karamono, opening up the possibility of 'Soan no cha' (thatched hut tea), in other words, wabi-cha (tea of quiet taste). At the same time that wabi-cha was becoming popular, tea bowls made in common people's kilns as household items all over the Korean peninsular, called 'koraimono' began to be used as tea bowls for matcha (powdered green tea). Also, in the 16th century, the nanban trade with countries to the south, beginning with the arrival in Japan of the Portuguese in 1543, was flourishing and utensils from the south of China and Southeast Asia were taken into chanoyu as 'nanbanmono'. So, along with the spread of international culture, chanoyu made a positive effort to take in foreign cultures.

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