Love tea enough to plant tea?! -Part II

Bai Juyi introduced a large number of tea into the poetry world, his poems were the most diversified in tea and liquor. Bai Juyi was still “half sober, half drunk” liquor and tea complementary life in Tang Dynasty, however, Su Shi had pure tea life in Song Dynasty. 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.

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> describes the Song Dynasty tea making scenes, 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.

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. “Grinding Tea Picture 撵茶图” was painted by Liu Songnian 刘松年 1155-1218).

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.

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