Saturday, February 23, 2013

Learn Chinese on a Cha xi (tea setting 茶席)

Tea culture being deeply rooted in Chinese history and its people, I find it important for tea lovers to be briefly initiated in the language and familiarise themselves with some of  their favourite teaware pieces. You will of course notice word similarities shared by Chinese and Japanese.

1. 废水碗 Fei4 shui3 wan3
This dark ceramic bowl can be used both as vessel for collecting waste water or for rinsing teacups between tea sessions as guests leave and new ones join in.

2. 茶杯 Cha2 bei1
Tea cups

3. 盘子 Pan2 zi3
This is a classic blue and white Qing dynasty plate that I would often place under small teacups when pouring tea so any stray drops of tea are caught and do not stain the cloth too heavily.

4. 茶布 cha2 bu4
Cloth for creating tea space and improving one's chaxi experience.

5. 茶托 cha2 tuo1
Tea saucers to match various teacup shapes and sizes. Apart from catching stray drops of tea, it lessens the risk of burnt fingers while handling hot tea!

6. 盖碗 gai4 wan3
A lidded tea bowl and probably the most versatile brewing tool to have be because glazed porcelain is neutral to all tea types and can be quickly rinsed and used for the next tea.

7. 茶海 cha2 hai3
This literally means the sea of tea, but in practise it is a fair cup where you pour tea pour tea from the Gaiwan into and further distribute this tea among the cups.

In the context of the Chinese language, the act of drinking (tea for instance) is often associated with assimilating knowledge. Carved on these rather meaningful plaques I found in Teaparker's tearoom, they read: to drink from the sea of Buddhism (Gaiwan), you (Cha hai) will in turn shine like a beacon of knowledge for the others (tea cups) around you. The same concept can be exactly said of drinking tea (饮茶 yin3 cha2).

To be continued..

1 comment:

  1. thank you, thank you! This is an incredibly helpful post.