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The Way of Tea ceremony British Museum LONDON HHHH

Accompanying the British Museum's Crafting Beauty in Modern Japan exhibition (running to 21 October) are free "the Way of Tea" demonstrations held in partnership with Japan's Urasenke Foundation, which aims to preserve and foster the Urasenke school of the traditional tea ceremony.

Anyone who finds Japanese culture exciting and somewhat mysteriously appealing will enjoy this fascinating insight into the traditional ritual. The ceremony took place in the Japanese gallery's authentic-style tea-house, the waeian - meaning "Japan- Britain hut" - which was presented to the museum in 1990 by the foundation. Made from typical materials, the waeian is a fantastically atmospheric setting, with its bamboo frame and paper- covered doors.

The ceremony was presented by an informative lady from the foundation and conducted by two colleagues who dispensed a wealth of insight into its history, equipment and etiquette. Using an audience volunteer, they took us through the ritual, which dates from the ninth century and was introduced from China, where its medicinal and spiritual effects were already established.

This was, as our guide explained, a shortened, less formal version of the "way of tea" - the obon-temae ceremony, taking less time to prepare and complete. …