|The black cat - a reflection of my nocturnal rhythm|
As this is the year 2012, the Chinese would term this the 'Rén Chén Nián', 壬辰年. Personally, I very much admire this style of dating artworks as it attributes a quality of transcending time and space into ancient Chinese dynasties 120, 180 and perhaps 960 years ago, which is the estimated age of the tea jar that I am using tonight.
This being the most celebrated season of the year ‘寒冬 Han Dong’ with snow-covered landscapes, I decided to design my cha xi using a piece of white calligraphy paper. The purpose of a cha xi is not just about using the best or most expensive teaware you have. For me, it is about weaving different elements together like in a water-coloured painting and striking a harmonious balance between the tea master, the tea and selected teaware.
This evening I brewed an easy drinking Ali Shan spring oolong tea that I have stored for a day in the tea jar to remove any residual smells from its original paper bag. Preparing this tea is rather straightforward as all you need is a porcelain gaiwan and cups. In this case, thin-walled 'eggshell' porcelain cups work best in highlighting the floral notes of a light oolong. The irregularly shaped saucers chiselled from wood remind me of footprints in the snow.
The entire tea setup relaxes my whole being and stirs my imagination of a white Christmas with an occasional snowflake landing on my eyelashes. Overall, it was a very serene evening in good company of a picture perfect 'snow-covered' cha xi.