Chinese tea ceremony: the story of the emergence and development
At home in China, this drink is considered to be a cult. For many thousands of years, the people of the Middle Kingdom gathered and then processed the leaves growing on a tea tree.
In addition, a whole system of knowledge was gradually born. Among them was the holding of the Chinese tea ceremony. Moreover, both emperors and ordinary peasants drank this drink.
This refreshing and refreshing drink in China is very popular. His discovery is attributed to Shen-Nun - the mythical emperor, who ruled the country around 2700 BC. er Legends say that the sovereign of the Middle Kingdom - the father of Chinese medicine and the divine plowman. Throughout his life, he tested various types of plants and studied their beneficial properties, which he taught the people. According to legend, Shen Noon possessed a serpentine body, had a human face, located on a bull's head, the nose of a tiger, and his belly was made of transparent jade.
The history of the discovery of tea
There are two legends about the appearance of this cult drink among the people of the Middle Kingdom. According to the first of them, the emperor Shen Nun chewed fragrant, but bitter-tasting leaves that had flown from a bush growing not far from him. He did this in search of a cure, trying another plant and poisoning it. The leaves, which he used to alleviate his condition, made him vigorous and gave strength. And later this remedy was constantly under the emperor. He carried tea tree leaves with him and chewed them after he had tried new, unexplored herbs.
There is a second version of the legend. He tells us how the leaves of tea tree were blown into the pot in which the water was boiling. Shen Noon noticed that gradually she acquired a golden color. The emperor tried the resulting aromatic and tasty drink and then felt cheerfulness.
Opening Bodhiharma tea
There is another legend. She tells us that the tea was first discovered by the monk Bodhiharma. They made a decision to hold incessant prayers to the Buddha. However, after four years of meditation, the monk still fell asleep.Waking up in anger at having broken his vow, Bodhiharma cut off his eyelids, throwing them on the ground. In this place grew two tea trees.
The emergence of traditions
During the reign of the Han dynasty from 221 to 206 BC. er the Chinese have been actively studying the properties possessed by tea. At the same time, they increasingly expanded their knowledge in the field of growing this plant and processing raw materials. Further, in the era of the Three Kingdoms (221-277), an amazing tonic drink began to replace wine at feasts. At the same time, the story of the origin of the Chinese tea ceremony begins.
In 618-907, in the era of the Tang reign, this plant was revered as food and medicine. And only later, the leaves of the tea tree began to collect only for the preparation of the drink. And they treated him as a miraculous and amazing means of nourishing life.
The development of traditions
The traditional Chinese tea ceremony has become quite popular thanks to Liu Yu. This sage (733-804) is still revered by the people of China as one of the three tea deities of Cha Shan. Even as a baby, Liu Yu was adopted and raised by monks from Lungai Monastery. From the age of 10 he was trained to serve the Buddha. The boy was trained to write hieroglyphs, meditated, read and studied to conduct a Chinese tea ceremony.However, at twelve he ran away with wandering artists and traveled a lot.
Having reached the age of 21, Liu Yu devoted his whole life to studying tea. He became a hermit and settled in the mountains of Bas-Shan. There he began to write a three-volume work called "Canon of Tea". It includes all the knowledge about this divine drink, which had already been accumulated by the people. Found in the book and his own experience. Liu Yu gave a description of the Chinese tea ceremony, which includes 27 items. In addition, the sage found almost 7 thousand characters, most fully conveying the mystery and divinity of an amazing drink.
The work “Canon of Tea” was completed in 778. It took him 26 years to write. About the book learned far beyond the Middle Kingdom. Later the treatise was translated into many languages.
Golden Tea Age
The drink became especially popular in the period from 960 to 1279. It was a time when the country was ruled by the Song dynasty. This happened due to a change in the methods of tea production and the development of pottery.
The collection of raw materials in that era was necessarily accompanied by a battle of cymbals or drums. After that, the leaves were quickly steamed, dried and pressed. High-grade tea was rated the same as gold.Produced from selected raw materials was considered invaluable. At the imperial court, the tradition of the Chinese tea ceremony continued to take shape. Famous statesmen, artists and poets were invited to the emperor's table.
Competition in the skill of brewing a drink
An interesting tradition originated in Fujian province. Here, farmers began to hold tea competitions, sending the best varieties of drink to the imperial court.
Somewhat later, this tradition picked up the nobility. Thinkers, bureaucrats and even emperors themselves strived to get the title of the best tea master.
Participants in such competitions had to go through several stages of preparing a divine drink. In the first of them, the leaves were wrapped in paper and crushed with the knife's handles to the state of powder. The resulting material was sieved. The necessary stages of boiling water in the Chinese tea ceremony were determined by the noise of the liquid coming from the dishes with a narrow neck. Next was prepared viscous mixture. For her, they took boiled water and powder. The most difficult for the participants of the competition was to determine the proportions of the ingredients.In this case, the best drink was considered the one that had a milky white color, and the foam was kept as long as possible. The most popular tableware for such a ceremony in those years is a black-eyed bowl decorated with falling lines. Wore this capacity called "rabbit fur."
Improving the quality of the drink
The traditions of the Chinese tea ceremony were further developed in the period 1368-1644, during the times when the Ming dynasty was in power. During these years, masters began to invent new ways of processing tea, which allowed it to preserve its quality to the maximum. In addition, refractory ceramic teapots were made.
Emperor Qian Long, who ruled during the Qing era, was considered a great connoisseur of this amazing drink. He traveled a lot around the country, studied tea, dishes, water quality and tried his best to support the development of the tea traditions of his people.
And today the culture of this drink in China is supported and not forgotten by people, being at the peak of its popularity.
How is the tea ceremony held in Chinese tradition? For it will need to have a certain set of dishes.
One of its subjects is cha-he. This is a tea box designed to familiarize participants with the original product. Cha-he is like a cup, elongated on one side. This form allows the participants of the ceremony to look at the tea leaves, touch and smell them. Next, the tea is poured into the brewing vessel. For this purpose, a special opening is provided at one end of the cha-he.
Consider the names and photos of dishes for the Chinese tea ceremony. Preparation of the drink will require the use of kettles with different sizes. In different vessels place the brewing of different varieties. This avoids mixing smells. Teapots can be made from different grades of clay. Among them are Issinskaya, purple, etc.
You will also need a set in which there are small tea cups. They differ from each other in shape, color and volume. Also, the Chinese use and tea couples. They are a small bowl and a cup of wen-xiang bei. They are placed on a beautiful wooden or ceramic tray with small sides.
In addition, for the tea ceremony, ceramic cups are used, which are covered with white enamel.In any case, the choice of such dishes will depend on the purpose of the event and the personal preferences of the owners.
A stand for cups and a teapot serves as a tea bath. This is nothing like a special board.
When conducting a tea ritual, the Chinese use:
- cha bi - tea brush;
- Jia Ji - forceps;
- cha zan - the needle with which the spout of the brewing vessel makes its way;
- cha syanlo - funnel on the kettle.
Special spoons, towels and strainers are needed for the tea ceremony.
The origins of this ceremony are rooted in the traditions of the peoples of Minnan, Chaoshan or Chaozhou. In this case, tea is brewed with the help of a small teapot from zisha (Issinskaya clay). Its volume is only 150 ml. Such a vessel is a real decoration of the Chinese tea ceremony, Kung Fu Cha, while contributing to the "rounding" of the taste of the drink.
So they drank the divine drink in ancient China for many millennia. The tradition of Gunfu Cha is considered to be the ancestor of all subsequent rituals that have spread throughout the world. The ceremony, originating in the provinces of Guangdong and Fujian, is designed to cause admiration for the taste of this amazing drink.
This is one of the most important elements of the tea ceremony, not counting the tea leaves.Ideally, it is necessary to take a crystal clear liquid from springs or mountain sources.
A significant role is played by the stages of boiling water in the Chinese tea ceremony. It is believed that the liquid that has boiled has already given its energy to the elements of fire. The Chinese believe that to use it further is simply useless. The one who hurries to remove the kettle and does not bring the water to the desired temperature, simply can not brew the leaves.
The Chinese emit a total of four stages of boiling water:
- Fisheye, when large air bubbles rise up with a quiet noise.
- "Crab eye" - raising smaller bubbles that produce an average noise.
- "Pearl thread." This stage is characterized by the raising of bubbles with distinct noise.
- The stage of the "bubbling source", to which the liquid can not be brought. It is characterized by rapid and strong boiling water.
Tea drinking at the Chinese, as a rule, takes place in a room into which diffused sunlight penetrates. The color scheme of the interior of the room at the same time usually adheres to pastel shades, in which light green or light brown shades prevail.
The presence of a small movement of air is considered mandatory. A breeze should bring the spirit of the ceremony to every corner of the human soul.
During the event, unobtrusive aromas of lavender and jasmine should be in the air, birds singing and sounds of national music can be heard. It is necessary that the whole environment of those who enjoy the divine tonic drink, contributed to the relaxation of body and soul, was calm and peaceful.
Table for the Chinese tea ceremony should be roomy. This will allow you to safely place the dishes and prevent inconvenience associated with congestion.
Variety of tea ceremonies
There are a lot of tea drinking traditions in China. However, some of them are usually carried out on special occasions.
This is a Chinese tea ceremony held by matured children. Having left for work and rarely visiting their parents, they arrange joint tea drinking, having gathered in a restaurant. This tradition is one of the main parts of a family meeting. Chinese restaurants on Sundays and holidays are usually crowded with visitors.The fact is that family values in this country have a special meaning.
In China, a cup of tea is poured on the person from whom they want to apologize. In this case, the offer of the drink is a gesture of repentance and submission.
“Gratitude to the elders at the wedding”
In China, the bride and groom give a cup of tea to their parents as a sign of respect. Young kneel down and say thanks. Parents, after drinking tea, give the bride and groom a red envelope as a symbol of good luck.
During the wedding ceremony, the tea ceremony promotes the acquaintance of the newlyweds' families.
"Transfer of experience and wisdom"
Often, young people and the elderly participate in the tea ceremonies of the Celestial Empire. Such a ceremony allows spreading and preserving traditions, as well as transmitting the life experience that constitutes the cultural heritage of a great country to the young generation.