Love tea enough to plant tea?! -Part II Su Shi

Tea drinking of Song Dynasty reflected the unique life style and philosophy of literati. Liu Xuezhong, a modern scholar, commented: “Su Shi was the typical representative of tea drinking life in Song Dynasty. The feature and spirit of tea were still hazy in Bai Juyi’s time, but they became clear and clear in Su Shi‘s period. Su Dongpo (Su Shi), a great literary giant in Song Dynasty, loved tea in an all-round way. He not only tasted, fried and ground tea, but also planted tea trees. In his poem <Planting Tea 种茶>, Dongpo described how he transplanted an old tea tree. A hundred years old tea tree, has been abandoned, but Su Shi chose a good spring rain season, moved it to his garden. Under his careful care, the old tea tree revived its vitality and produced excellent tea.

A good tea is like a beautiful woman 佳茗似佳人 – Wenzhuo Liu

In this <Planting Tea 种茶> poem, Su Shi vividly describes the process of transplanting tea trees. The general meaning of the poem is: tea trees grow in pine trees, and grow among thorns and grasses. Tea trees are aging, their bodies are short, their roots are sparse, but they still have strong growth vitality. After the spring rain, the transplanted tea plants were planted in the fertile and loose soil of White Crane Ridge. After more than ten days of continuous rainy weather, the transplanted tea plants gradually survived and grew luxuriant tea buds. Due to the small number of tea buds, they can not be processed, so they can only be picked to smell their taste. A large amount of tea is produced for the government, while a small amount is produced for private sale. The tea produced in my garden can only be tasted by myself.

A good tea is like a beautiful woman 佳茗似佳人 – Wenzhuo Liu

Although Su Shi was demoted because of the changes in his official positions and was very depressed, his elegant character did not stop him enjoying his life. In his seclusion, he built his “Dongpo Snow Hall 东坡雪堂” in a heavy snow and painted the snow scene on the wall, and the surrounding environment was very beautiful. To the southwest of the hall was a spring, to the south was a hill. In front of the hall were wells and willows, behind the hall were bamboos, pine, mulberry, peach, mandarin and jujube trees, the only thing missing was tea. Later, he went hundreds kilometers to Daye for some tea seeds, which were planted beside the Snow Hall. His tea poem <Prelude to Water Melody · Try Daye’s Peach Blossom Tea 水调歌头·尝问大冶乞桃花茶 Read More> describes the Song Dynasty tea making scenes Read More, from a vibrant tea harvest to a spiritual tea experience. After he wrote this famous poem, because of the poet’s fame, Daye’s peach blossom tea has been famous for a thousand of years.

A good tea is like a beautiful woman 佳茗似佳人 – Wenzhuo Liu

In the Song Dynasty (960-1279), most upper class families enjoyed 龙凤团茶 [lóng fèng tuán chá] tea cakes with dragon and phoenix patterns and Tea-  Competitions 斗茶 “Tea fights 斗茶图” became polular, in order to determine the best teas in the country. At the same time the art of making tea has been developed by the Whisked Tea Method 点茶法. Su Shi 苏轼 wrote <Peach Blossom Tea 桃花茶>, described the beauty of tea harvest and this method. The book written by Zhao Ji 赵佶  (1082-1135) – the 8th Emperor of Song reign, <Treatise on Tea 大观茶论> described the mainstream of tea ceremonies at that time. In the Yuan Dynasty, this method spread throughout the population. It is not difficult to see that drinking tea showed the profound experience of the literati in the Song Dynasty represented by Su Shi, which was round and natural, delicate and elegant, ordinary and profound. However, it could not conceal the old people’s mentality of being sophisticated and indifferent.

A good tea is like a beautiful woman 佳茗似佳人 – Wenzhuo Liu

PS: Tea Poem in the painting “In that fairyland of tea mountains, flowing white clouds float leisurely, lightly wet the green tea buds in spring. It’s like a pure and beautiful girl who cleans inch skin without powder. Such a beautiful girl (the metaphor of tea), in the bright moon night, riding the breeze to Yu Chuanzi (Lu Tong)’s side. It’s so beautiful that it’s like a fresh breeze, blowing the spring in Hangzhou. You should know that this girl, who has the essence of pure, not just the beautiful appearance. I use this outstanding beauty as a metaphor for this new tea. Don’t laugh at me when you read this poem. Since ancient times, many people who love tea, like me, think that a good tea is like a beautiful woman with orchid heart.

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