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(1522-1591). Considered the historical figure with the most profound influence on the Japanese tea ceremony. A man of simple taste, he had a cultivated and disciplined lifestyle and defined the term wabi cha which emphasized simplicity, rusticness and other humble qualities. It was Rikyu who synthesized a unique way of life combining the everyday aspects of living with the highest spiritual and philosophical tenets. This has been passed down to the present as the "way of tea." From the age of 58, he served a daimyo, Oda Nobunaga, as a tea master. After the death of Nobunaga, he became the head tea master of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the de facto successor of Nobunaga. Ostensibly in charge of tea, he actually wielded great influence with Hideyoshi in other matters as well. Rikyu's extraordinary sense of beauty left a great imprint on the world of ceramics, architecture, design and the myriad arts and crafts that are combined to create the world of tea. (from Wikipedia)

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