Tea was initiated in China by Shennong (ca. 3245 BC – 3080 BC), who was respected as the God of Agriculture and Chinese Herbs. The poisoning Shennong suffered from tasting all the herbs for human beings was only detoxified by tea. Here begins the history of Chinese tea. Over the years, tea culture has gone through three stages corresponding to three of the greatest dynasties in Chinese history—the Tang, Song and Ming.
During the Tang Dynasty (618-906 CE) in China, tea was taken as food to be eaten. This is evident by the many utensils in the “Belitung Shipwreck” exhibition at the Asian Civilisations Museum. Tea leaves were served with pepper, salt and ginger. Subsequently during the Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE), powdered tea was whipped in a bowl, along with boiled water poured from a long spouted ewer, making durable bubbles for leisure and entertainment The way tea is drank today only began during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 CE), when the precious tea leaves were demanded as tribute goods. The famous Yixing zisha teapots were created during the Emperor Zheng De (reign: 1506 – 1521 CE) to brew the tea leaves before pouring the brewed tea into tea cups. This talk will begin with the legendary Emperor Shennong (4th millennium BCE), the “God of Agriculture and Chinese Herbs”, who had to take tea for detoxification given his experiments with the many herbs, some of them poisonous. Allison Liu, who is the vice president of the Southeast Asia Ceramics Society, will bring us on a journey of tea culture, from Shennong and through to the Tang, Song and Ming Dynasties
Ms Allison Liu
SEACS Vice-President Allison Liu is currently writing a book based on her research in tea culture and teapots. Her focus has been on Chinese Yixing masters’ teapots, especially those created in wood-fired kilns and Fujian’s Wuyi rock tea. She is a frequent speaker at conferences and art forums and most recently has participated in both the Art Forum of Art Basel Hong Kong and the Yale-NUS China Summit. Having completed an MBA in Finance from Singapore’s NTU, she is currently a Ph.D. candidate of Renmin University of China in art history.... Read More
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