• by vinux

In “Yutangchun”, there is a scene where old Jie Cha Chong Gongdao escorts Su San to the provincial capital. He appears with four words: “You say you are fair, I say I am fair. Heaven knows who is right and who is wrong.” A Jie Cha with a white beard, bent over his waist, speaks of fairness in a convincing tone.


“Fairness, objectivity and reasonableness, respecting the original appearance of things is the most basic rule,” comes from “Book of Rites and Ceremonies”, it states that “the way of the great road is public to all under heaven”.

This concept can be found not only in literature and drama, but also in everyday objects like the scale cup.

The history of the Gongdao Cup:

The Gongdao Cup is a traditional Chinese game that has been around for over 4,000 years. It is believed to be one of the oldest board games in the world. The game consists of two players and a board with nine pieces arranged in three rows. Players take turns placing pieces on the board while trying to make connections (gong) between their own pieces and their opponent’s pieces. The player who is able to make three gongs wins the game.

In ancient China, the game was used by students studying Confucianism as an aid to understanding more complicated concepts. Today it is still popular among many people who enjoy playing it for fun or as part of a larger strategy game.

How did the Gongdao Cup come about? As early as the Liao and Yuan dynasties, the Gongdao Cup appeared as a wine vessel. It is said that in ancient times, people used the Gongdao Cup to deal with greedy drinkers, because when using the Gongdao Cup to pour wine, it could only be flat and not full, otherwise all the wine in the cup would leak out and none would remain.

Legend has it that when Zhu Yuanzhang defeated Chen Youliang and established the Ming Dynasty by making Nanjing the capital, he invited his heroes of founding the country for a banquet one day. At the banquet, Zhu Yuanzhang took out a porcelain cup to serve his courtiers wine. Xu Da was the first one who stepped forward and accepted the offer. Being extremely ambitious and proud of himself, he made Zhu Yuanzhang fill up the cup to its brim. As soon as he raised up this cup, all its content leaked out before it was drunk by anyone else. Everyone was confused by such an event. With a smile on his face, Zhu Yuanzhang said: “This is a Nine-Dragon Justice Cup crafted by Jingdezhen Royal Kiln upon my orders. The wise man said: ‘Being modest will benefit; being full will suffer.’ My beloved courtiers, why don’t we try out its justice today?”

Tracing the Way of Fairness Cup

The Gongdao cup (also known as the equalizing cup), which is used to brew tea, was not introduced to mainland China until the 1970s. It looks similar to a teapot without a spout. If you use a teapot to brew tea and pour it into each person’s cup, there will be a phenomenon of weak tea water in front and strong tea water in the back.

With a Fair Cup, the tea water in the teapot can be poured into the Fair Cup first, and then distributed to each tea drinker to keep the taste of the tea soup in each tea cup consistent, so it is called a Fair Cup.

Fair Cup commonly used

Just like other tea sets, Gondai cups also come in different materials, the most common of which are glass and porcelain. The transparent glass texture brings out the clarity of the tea soup.

In the past two years, the popular hammer pattern cups have been made of glass, but the surface of the hammer pattern cup is irregularly hammered, giving the tea soup an added crystal-like beauty.

The porcelain fair cup cannot be viewed directly like the glass cup, but it is also a kind of simple and elegant to put tea in it.

Finally, remind everyone that when choosing a Gong Dao cup, pay attention to the capacity. Generally speaking, the capacity of our tea lid bowl and pot is basically within 200ml. Therefore, it is best to choose a Gong Dao cup with a capacity of more than 250ml. The specific choice should be based on the capacity of your usual lid bowl and pot.