Tea Art in China

By Brenton Harvey, LAc, CH and Hong Ji

The Mid-Autumn Festival has arrived, and the pungent fragrance of blooming osmanthus flowers fills the air as people are bustling about, enjoying the spectacular weather. While most foreigners are beginning to appreciate the taste, aroma and health benefits of Chinese cha (tea), tea art is relatively unknown abroad.

There are numerous traditional forms of folk art here in China, dating back to the beginning of civilization. Many of these crafts have been incorporated into the local culture's daily life and are seen all over, especially in the numerous teahouses, art galleries and even national holiday celebrations and museums. Crab Basket - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Yixing clay "Crab Basket" Pu-erh teapot and cup set. We have been fortunate over the past nine years to meet and visit with folk artists living in the countryside who are experts in the art of pot making, bamboo carving, watercolor painting and silk matting. Many of these artists have carried on the family tradition dating back several generations.

Sun, Moon, Clouds - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark
Yixing clay "Sun, Moon, Clouds" teapot.

Even though the medicinal value of "aesthetics" and "surroundings" are scoffed at by many, modern science has developed some interest in their healing value.

Lu Yu-Tea Sage - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark
Yixing clay "Lu Yu-Tea Sage" sculpture.

For example, feng shui and color therapy have gained tremendous popularity. I would assume that many of you readers are firm believers and supporters, as are we, of such art for its cultural value, and its less tangible benefits as well. So, we thought we would share some of our valued Chinese tea art collectibles with you. We hope you enjoy these as much as we do.

wood carving - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark
Bamboo "Cha Dao" wood carving.

watercolor paintings - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark
Set of three "Cha" watercolor paintings on rice paper.

watercolor painting - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark
Silk-matted watercolor painting of "Outdoor Tea Drinking."

Brenton Harvey - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark
Brenton Harvey at the Mid-Autumn Festival "Teapot & Gaiwan Cup and Saucer" topiary sculpture at Shanghai Century Park.

Century Park - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark
"Teapot Pouring Teacups" topiary statue at Century Park in Pudong (Shanghai) during Mid-Autumn Festival.

Click here for previous articles by Brenton Harvey, LAc, CH.

Click here for more information about Hong Ji.

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