Tuesday, October 23, 2012

TANG DYNASTY: Royal Tea Set


The royal gilt silver tea set, unearthed from the underground palace of Famen Temple in 1987 and now preserved in the Famen Temple Museum, is the earliest tea set of the highest rank discovered in the world, which has become the greatest and most significant discovery for archeological study on the world tea culture.
The tea set includes a tea caddy weaved out of metallic yarn, a gilt silver tortoise-shaped tea box, a tea roller and a silver stove for cooking tea. Each piece of the set is a fine work with its gorgeousness constituting a rare state-of-the-art set with high artistic value, and a proof that China is the origin of tea culture.
The gilt silver tea box is exquisitely worked out in a height of 17.8cm. It is a compact four-footed tea box put with cattail leaves against dampness. It’s estimated that it can hold bunches of tea breads weighing half a kilogram or so.
The silver stove is 56.0cm high weighing 3920 grams. It is plain and neat made of sheet metal and consists of a cover and a stove frame.
The tea groove in the Tang Dynasty is in the same shape of today’s medicine grinder groove, which resembles a boat with a V-shaped transect, curved bottom and upturned ends designed in consideration of roller movements.
The gilt silver tortoise-shaped tea box features the tortoise back as its lid with the four legs and its head being hollow for the purpose of keeping tealeaves.
As a part of the tea set, the Tiao Da Zi (a kind of container for mixing tea) is used for tea mixing and drinking, since in ancient China, the tea drinking activity is to some extent just like having food. First you need to put tea into the container with appropriate spices. Then, pour in some boiled water and mix the tea into paste; lastly, you can add more water to make it into tea soup.
The salt plate is something used for placing salt, pepper and other spices by ancient people when preparing tea.

BY Explore Cultural China

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