Friday, September 19, 2008

Xuan He Bei Yuan Gong Cha Lu

Xuan He Bei Yuan Gong Cha Lu.

This tea treatise by Xiong Fan contained detailed description of the names of various tribute tea cakes, on their packaging, some with dimension data, for example "Longevity Dragon cake, silver mould, bamboo frame, one inch diameter" "Eternal Spring Jade Leave, bamboo frame, diameter 3 1/2 inch".

Treatise on Tea

The Treatise on Tea is a book written by the Chinese Emperor of the Song Dynasty in 1107.

Emperor Song Huizong was a great connoiseur of tea with masterful skill in tea ceremony, often engaged in tea tasting and tea competition with his subordinates in Song Imperial Court. Emperor Huizong's favourite was white tea.

Emperor Huizong provided the most detailed, vivid and masterful description of the Song dynasty technique of tea spotting competition. The Emperor also laid down seven criteria for
tea competition.

Emperor Huizong's ''Da Guan Cha Lu'' is a key document for understanding the most sophisticated tea ceremony in Chinese history. It stands as the monumental treatise on tea after Lu Yu's ''The Classic of Tea'' .


* Preface
* Places of Origin
* On Climate
* On Picking Tea
* On Steaming and Pressing
* Manufacture
* Assessment
* White Tea
* Grinding
* Tea vessel
* Tea brush
* Tea Cake
* Tea spoon
* Water
* Tea Spot
* Palate
* Aroma
* Color
* Storage
* Brand Name
* Non official product

The Record of Tea

The Record of Tea is a Chinese by Cai Xiang written in 1049.

Reputed as one of the greatest calligraphers of the Song dynasty, Cai Xiang was also a great tea connoisseur. During the Qingli period of the , Cai Xiang was the Officer of Transportation in Fujian. He pioneered the manufacture of a small Dragon Tribute Tea Cake of superlative quality. He also wrote the first tea treatise of the Song dynasty, ''The Record of Tea''. In this book, Cai Xiang criticized the traditional practice of mixing small amounts of Borneo camphor into tea cakes. He wrote: "Tea has an intrinsic aroma. But tribute tea manufacturers like to mix in a small amount of Borneo camphor, supposedly to enhance the aroma of tea. The local people of Jian'an never mix any incense into tea." Cai Xiang was a native of Fujian; he was the first writer to report the tea spotting game of Jian'an .

Table of Contents

* Part I: About Tea
** Properties of Tea
** On Storage
** On Baking
** On Pressing
** On Sieving
** On Boiling Water
** On Preheating
** On Tea Spotting
* Part II: Tea Utensils
** Tea Warmer
** Tea Canister
** Tea Hammer
** Tea Clamps
** Tea Grinder
** Tea Sieve
** Tea Vessel
** Tea Spoon
** Tea Kettle

The Classic of Tea

The Classic of Tea is the very first monograph on tea in the world, written by writer Lu Yu between 760 CE and 780 CE .
According to popular legend, Lu Yu was an orphan of Jinling county who was adopted by a Buddhist monk of the Dragon Cloud Monastery. He refused to take up the monastic robes and was assigned menial jobs by his stepfather. Lu Yu ran away and joined the circus as a clown. At age 14, Lu Yu was discovered by the local governor Li Qiwu who offered Lu Yu the use of his library and the opportunity to study with a teacher. During the An Lushan and Shi Siming rebellion period, Lu Yu retired to Shaoqi . During this period, Lu Yu made friends with many literati, including the calligrapher Yan Zhenqing and the poet Huang Pu Zheng and wrote his magnum opus: ''Chá jīng''.

For Lu Yu, tea symbolized the harmony and mysterious unity of the Universe. "He invested the ''Chá jīng'' with the concept that dominated the religious thought of his age, whether , , or : to see in the particular an expression of the universal" .

Huang Pu Zheng's poem about Lu Yu

Saw Lu Yu off to Pick Tea

''Thousand mountains greeted my departing friend''

''When spring tea blossoming again''

''With indepth knowledge in picking tea''

''Through morning mist or crimson evening clouds''

''His solitary journey is my envy''

''Rendezvous in a temple of a remote mountain''

''We enjoyed picnic by a clear pebble fountain''

''In this silent nigh''t

''Lit up a candle light''

''I knocked a marble bell for chime''

''While deep in thought for old time.''

Content of Chá jīng

Lu Yu's ''Chá jīng'' was the earliest treatise on tea in the world.
The Ch'a Ching is divided into the following 10 chapters:

* Chapter 1. Origin
:This chapter expounds the origins of tea in China. It also contains a description of the tea plant and its proper planting as well as some speculation.
* Chapter 2. Tea Tools
:This chapter describes fifteen tools for picking, steaming, pressing, drying and storage of tea leaves and cake.
* Chapter 3. Manufacture
:This chapter details the recommended procedures for the production of tea cake.
* Chapter 4. Tea Wares
:This chapter describes twenty eight items used in the brewing and drinking of tea.
* Chapter 5. Brewing
:This chapter enumerates the guidelines for the proper preparation of tea.
* Chapter 6. Drinking Tea
:This chapter describes the various properties of tea, the history of tea drinking and the various types of tea known in 5th century China.
* Chapter 7. Anecdotes
:This chapter gives various anecdotes about the history of tea in Chinese records, from Shennong through the Tang dynasty.
* Chapter 8. Places
:This chapter ranks the eight tea producing regions in China.
* Chapter 9. Omission
:This chapter lists those procedures that may be omitted and under what circumstances.
* Chapter 10. Diagrams
:This chapter consists of four silk scrolls that provide an abbreviated version of the previous nine chapters.

Tea Manual

Tea Manual by Zhu Quan, aka Prince Ning, 17th son of Ming dynasty founder Emperor Hongwu in 1440, is a milestone work.

Following his father Emperor Hongwu's ban on manufacturing of tea cake, Prince Ning advocated a simpler way of steeping loose tea, a radical departure from the sophisticated tea cake ceremony of Tang and Song dynasty, thus pioneered a new era in Chinese Tea Culture.

Prince Ning also invented a tea stove called "Koojiejun".

* On Property of Tea
* Storage,
* Brewing,
* Flower Tea,
* Ten teawares,
* Fire,
* Ranking of water.

Report on Water for Brewing Tea

Report on Water for Brewing Tea is a tea monograph by Tang dynasty author Zhang Youxin from 814. This book is the earliest monograph wholly devoted to the quality of water for brewing tea.


* A short list of water sources from seven locations, ranked from 1 to 7:
# Nanling of Yangtse river.
# Wuxi Hui Mountain Temple Spring
# Suzhou Tiger Hill Temple Spring
# Danyang Guanyin Temple
# Yangzhou Da Ming Temple
# Wuzhong River
# Huai River.
* An anecdote about Lu Yu's marvellous ability as water connoisseur.
* A longer list of water quality ranking from twenty locations.

Pictorial of Tea Ware

Tea Ware Pictorial by The Old Man Shen'an

Pictorial of Tea Ware compiled ca 1269 is the earliest picture book on tea ware used in preparation of Song dynasty tea cake for drinking.

This book described 12 tea wares:
* tea stove 韋鴻臚 'Weihonglu'
* tea hammer 木待制 'Modaizhi'
* tea press, 金法曹 'Jinfacao'
* tea grinder,石轉運 "Shizhuanyun'
* tea spoon, 胡員外 'Hu'yuanwai'
* tea sieve, 羅樞密 'Luoshumi'
* tea brush, 宗從事 'Zhongcongshi'
* tea tray, 漆雕秘閣 'Cidiaomige'
* tea cup, 陶寶文 'Taobaowen'
* tea kettle, 湯提點 'Tangtidian'
* tea swiper, 竺副師 'Zhufushi'
* tea napkin, 司職方 'Shizhifang'