Last Chance for Tea with a Japanese Master at MFAH

This Tuesday is your last opportunity to experience a glimpse of ancient Japanese culture at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

These Tuesday afternoon events complement the exhibition Unrivalled Splendor: The Kimiko and John Powers Collection of Japanese Art. The only Certified Tea Master in Texas leads the Tea Ceremony: Thia McKann from Houston's The Path of Tea.

Tea ceremonies are steeped (no pun intended!) within ancient cultures worldwide. Most commonly, we think of Japanese and the Chinese Tea Ceremonies, but the Victorians held their own so-called "high-tea" rituals. The common thread throughout all cultures and times is that ritual, equipment, personal conduct and social networking are all equally as important as the tea served. And you may be surprised to learn that meditation is integral to the ritual.

In traditional Japanese ceremonies, speaking is forbidden during the preparation, serving and tasting of the tea. This is done to encourage us to focus our inner mind on enjoying the "moment." So drinking tea is a form of meditation, or at least it can be!

We don't have to be yogis dedicating our lives to achieving serenity, living on an isolated mountaintop, seeking inner peace. We live in a hectic world, full of noise, phones, e-mails, an untimely crashing of the Internet and traffic. Even thinking is now done at heightened speeds. BUT even we mortals of the realm of Earthly Desires can take a few seconds to enjoy a simple cup of tea!

To enjoy a taste of the past, pop along to the MFAH this Tuesday. Each Tea Ceremony is accompanied by a 20-minute, docent-led highlights tour of the exhibition. Keeping with tradition, after the Tea Ceremony you will be served an assortment of savoury and sweet treats, a "choko" of sake.

Available Tuesday: Choose from: • 3 p.m. tea seating / 4 p.m. tour and exhibition viewing • 3 p.m. tour and exhibition viewing / 4 p.m. tea seating Tickets: $25 for MFAH Members $35 for nonmembers

Call 713-639-7771 to make a reservation over the phone. Or purchase tickets online.