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'

On Yixing Tea Pot

On Yixing Tea Pot is a book about Yixing tea pot written by Ming dynasty author Zhou Gaochi ca 1640. In this book, Zhou provided a detail account on the origin and history of Yixing tea pot, followed by and account of the great masters and their disciples.


* Yixing Tea Pot Series
* Origin of Yixing Tea Pot
* Orthodox school
* Yixing Tea Pot Masters
* Famous Yixing Tea Pot Experts
* Elegant styles
* Magical Items
* Diverse Schools of Yixing Tea Pot makers

Kao Pan Yu Shi

Kao Pan Yu Shi1590.

Kao Pan Yu Shi was a tea treatise by Ming dynasty author Tu Long.


* Type of tea
** Tiger Hill
** Heavenly Pool
** Yangxian
** Liu'an
** Dragon Well
** Sky Eye
* Tea Picking
* Sun dried tea
* Fire baked tea
* Storage of tea
* Various Flower Tea
* Choice of Water
** Earth spring
** Mountain spring
** Hot spring
** River water
** Well water
** Dan Spring
* Water cultivation
* Prepare boiling water
* Pouring of water
* Choice of teaware
* Rinse teaware
* Warm up teaware
* Choice of fuel
* Choice of fruits
* Effects of tea
* Human Character
* Tea Utensils
**27 tea utensils

Dream Pool Essays

The Dream Pool Essays was an extensive book written by the polymath Chinese scientist and statesman Shen Kuo by 1088 AD, during the Song Dynasty of China. Although Shen was previously a highly renowned government official and military general, he compiled this enormous written work while virtually isolated on his lavish garden near modern-day Zhenjiang, Jiangsu province. He named the book after the name he gave to his estate, the "Dream Brook". The literal translated meaning is ''Brush Talks from a Dream Brook'', and in his biography in the ''Dictionary of Scientific Biography'' , Shen Kuo is quoted as saying:

''Because I had only my writing brush and ink slab to converse with, I call it Brush Talks''.


As the historian Chen Dengyuan points out, much of Shen Kuo's written work was probably purged under the leadership of minister Cai Jing , who revived the New Policies of Wang Anshi, although he set out on a campaign of attrition to destroy or radically alter the written work of his predecessors and especially Conservative enemies. For example, only six of Shen's books remain, and four of these have been significantly altered since the time they were penned by the author. The ''Dream Pool Essays'' was first quoted in a Chinese written work of 1095 AD, showing that even towards the end of Shen's life his final book was becoming widely printed. There is one surviving copy of this 1166 edition housed now in Japan, while a Chinese reprint was produced in 1305 as well. Selected translations of the ''Dream Pool Essays'' from Middle Chinese into modern Vernacular Chinese was made by Zhang Jia Ju's biographical work ''Shen Kuo'' . Zhang's biography on Shen is of great importantance as it contains, according to the historian Nathan Sivin , the fullest and most accurate account of Shen Kuo's life.

In recent years there was a landslide on the bank of a large river in Yong-Ning Guan near Yanzhou. The bank collapsed, opening a space of several dozens of feet, and under the ground a forest of bamboo shoots was thus revealed. It contained several hundred bamboo with their roots and trunks all complete, and all turned to stone...Now bamboos do not grow in Yanzhou. These were several dozens of feet below the present surface of the ground, and we do not know in what dynasty they could possibly have grown. Perhaps in very ancient times the climate was different so that the place was low, damp, gloomy, and suitable for bamboos. On the Jin-Hua Shan in Wuzhou there are stone pine-cones, and stones formed from peach kernels, stone bulrush roots, stone fishes, crabs, and so on, but as these are all native products of that place, people are not very surprised at them. But these petrified bamboos appeared under the ground so deep, though they are not produced in that place today.

On the use of the sighting tube to fix the position of the pole star, Shen Kuo wrote:

Before it was believed that the pole star was in the center of the sky, so it was called Jixing . found out with the help of the sighting tube that the point in the sky which really does not move was a little more than 1 degree away from the summit star. In the Xining reign-period I accepted the order of the emperor to take charge of the Bureau of the . I then tried to find the true pole by means of the tube. On the very first night I noticed that the star which could be seen through the tube moved after a while outside the field of view. I realized, therefore, that the tube was too small, so I increased the size of the tube by stages. After three months' trials I adjusted it so that the star would go round and round within the field of view without disappearing. In this way I found that the pole star was distant from the true pole somewhat more than 3 degrees. We used to make the diagrams of the field, plotting the positions of the star from the time when it entered the field of view, observing after nightfall, at midnight, and early in the morning before dawn. Two hundred of such diagrams showed that the 'pole star' was really a circumpolar star. And this I stated in my detailed report to the emperor.

Movable type printing

On the methods of Bi Sheng's invention of movable type printing between the years 1041 to 1048 AD, Shen Kuo wrote:

took sticky clay and cut in it characters as thin as the edge of a coin. Each character formed, as it were, a single type. He baked them in the fire to make them hard. He had previously prepared an iron plate and he had covered his plate with a mixture of pine resin, wax, and paper ashes. When he wished to print, he took an iron frame and set it on the iron plate. In this he placed the types, set close together. When the frame was full, the whole made one solid block of type. He then placed it near the fire to warm it. When the paste was slightly melted, he took a smooth board and pressed it over the surface, so that the block of type became as even as a whetstone. If one were to print only two or three copies, this method would be neither simple nor easy. But for printing hundreds or thousands of copies, it was marvelously quick. As a rule he kept two forms going. While the impression was being made from the one form, the type was being put in place on the other. When the printing of the one form was finished, the other was then ready. In this way the two forms alternated and the printing was done with great rapidity.

Personal beliefs and philosophy

Of Daoism and the inability of empirical science to explain everything in the world, Shen Kuo wrote:

Those in the world who speak of the regularities underlying the phenomena, it seems, manage to apprehend their crude traces. But these regularities have their very subtle aspect, which those who rely on mathematical astronomy cannot know of. Still even these are nothing more than traces. As for the spiritual processes described in the that "when they are stimulated, penetrate every situation in the realm," mere traces have nothing to do with them. This spiritual state by which foreknowledge is attained can hardly be sought through changes, of which in any case only the cruder sort are attainable. What I have called the subtlest aspect of these traces, those who discuss the celestial bodies attempt to know by depending on mathematical astronomy; but astronomy is nothing more than the outcome of conjecture.

Dissertation on the ''Timberwork Manual''

Below are two passages from Shen's book outlining the basics contained in Yu Hao's ''Timberwork Manual''. Yu Hao was a Chinese architect of the earlier 10th, and Kuo was one to praise his work. In the first quote, Shen Kuo describes a scene were Yu Hao gives advice to another artisan architect about slanting struts for diagonal wind bracing:

When Mr. Qian was Governor of the two Zhejiang provinces, he authorized the building of a wooden pagoda at the Fan-Tian Si in Hangzhou with a design of twice three stories. While it was under construction General Chhien went up to the top and was worried because it swayed a little. But the Master-Builder explained that as the tiles had not yet been put on, the upper part was still rather light, hence the effect. So then they put on all the tiles, but the sway continued as before. Being at a loss what to do, he privately sent his wife to see the wife of Yu Hao with a present of golden hair pins, and enquire about the cause of the motion. Hao laughed and said: 'That's easy, just fit in struts to settle the work, fixed with , and it will not move any more.' The Master-Builder followed his advice, and the tower stood quite firm. This is because the nailed struts filled in and bound together up and down so that the six planes were mutually linked like the cage of the thorax. Although people might walk on the struts, the six planes grasped and supported each other, so naturally there could be no more motion. Everybody acknowledged the expertise thus shown.

In this next quote, Shen Kuo describes the dimensions and types of architecture outlined in Yu Hao's book:

Methods of building construction are described in the ''Timberwork Manual'', which, some say, was written by Yu Hao. , buildings have three basic units of proportion, what is above the cross-beams follows the Upperwork Unit, what is above the ground floor follows the Middlework Unit, and everything below that follows the Lowerwork Unit. The length of the cross-beams will naturally govern the lengths of the uppermost cross-beams as well as the rafters, etc. Thus for a cross-beam of length, an uppermost cross-beam of length will be needed. in larger and smaller halls. This is the Upperwork Unit. Similarly, the dimensions of the foundations must match the dimensions of the columns to be used, as also those of the rafters, etc. For example, a column high will need a platform high. So also for all the other components, corbelled brackets, projecting rafters, other rafters, all have their fixed proportions. All these follow the Middlework Unit . Now below of ramps there are three kinds, steep, easy-going, and intermediate. In places these gradients are based upon a unit derived from the imperial litters. Steep ramps are ramps for ascending which the leading and trailing bearers have to extend their arms fully down and up respectively . Easy-going ramps are those for which the leaders use elbow length and the trailers shoulder height ; intermediate ones are negotiated by the leaders with downstretched arms and trailers at shoulder height . These are the Lowerwork Units. The book had three chapters. But builders in recent years have become much more precise and skillful than formerly. Thus for some time past the old Timberwork Manual has fallen out of use. But there is hardly anybody capable of writing a new one. To do that would be a masterpiece in itself!

Botany and Zoology

Shen Kuo described the natural predator insect similarly shaped to the ''gou-he'' which preyed upon the agricultural pest infestation of ''zi-fang'', the latter of which are now known to be ''nian chong'', a member of the Noctuidae family, Hardeninae subfamily, ''Leucania separata'':

In the Yuan-Feng reign period , in the Qingzhou region, an outbreak of zi-fang insects caused serious damage to the crops in the fields in autumn. Suddenly another insect appeared in swarms of thousands and tens of thousands, covering the entire ground area. It was shaped like earth-burrowing gou-he , and its mouth was flanked by pincers. Whenever it met a zi-fang, it would seize it with the pincers and break the poor beast into two bits. Within ten days all the zi-fang had disappeared, so the locality had an abundant harvest. Such kinds of insects have been known since antiquity and the local people call them pang bu ken .

Book chapters of the Meng Xi Bi Tan

The Humanities:

* Official life and the
* Academic and matters
* Literary and artistic
* Law and police
* Military
* Miscellaneous stories and anecdotes
* Divination, , and folklore

The Natural Sciences:

* On the I Ching, Yin and Yang, and
* Mathematics
* Astronomy and calendar
* Meteorology
* Geology and mineralogy
* Geography and cartography
* Physics
* Chemistry
* Engineering, metallurgy, and technology
* Irrigation and hydraulic engineering
* Architecture
* Biological sciences, botany, and zoology
* Agricultural arts
* Medicine and pharmaceutics

The Humanistic Sciences:

* Anthropology
* Archeology
* Philology
* Music