Record of Tea


Cha lu (Record of tea) was compiled by Cai Xiang of Song dynasty in the mid-11th century. Shown here is a facsimile handwritten copy made at Shugutang, the private library of early Qing collector Qian Zeng (1629‒1701). The ancestral home of Cai Xiang (1012‒67), courtesy name Junmo, was in Xianyou, Fujian, and later the family moved to Putian, Fujian. At the young age of 18, Cai Xiang received his jinshi degree in the eighth year (1030) of the Tiansheng era. He served in a number of official posts, among them as a Hanlin academician. In his preface, Cai Xiang expressed the view that Lu Yu’s Cha jing (Classic on tea) did not address the tea from Jian’an, which rendered it undistinguished, while Ding Wei’s Cha tu (Illustrations of tea) only discussed methods of picking and producing tea but made no mention of tea brewing. Therefore, he recommended to the emperor the tribute tea of Beiyuan, Fujian. The work was written during the years of the Huangyou era (1049‒54). It has two parts. Part one consists of more than ten topics, including a discussion about tea, color, aroma, flavor, storing, roasting, crushing, straining of tea, boiling water, preheating the tea bowl and pouring tea, focusing on tea quality and tea-brewing methods. Part two has nine topics, including the roasting of tea, the container, mallet, brewer, grinder, strainer, teacup, teaspoon, and kettle, with the focus mainly on tea brewing and drinking utensils. This work was the most influential work on tea after the publication of Lu Yu’s classic, and it was a great impetus to the development of the tea industry in Fujian. Qian Zeng also included in the volume two other works: Shang zheng (Wine games) and Duan shi liang fang (Recipes for porridge).

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1 volume : stitch-bound ; 23.8 x 15.5 centimeters

Last updated: June 7, 2017