- by vinux
Before the ancients drank tea, they had to fry the tea leaves in the furnace. Before the Tang Dynasty, the way to drink tea was to grind the tea leaves into fine powder, add lard and mien flour, make them into cakes or strings of tea and then fry them with seasoning. When did frying tea begin? Since Tang Dynasty, there have been debates among various schools. As Song Ouyang Xiu said in “Collection of Ancient Records”, “The history of tea can be traced back to Wei and Jin Dynasties”. Later people saw from “shoukan book map” that there were “tea frying people” in Wei Dynasty. So it is believed that frying tea began in Wei and Jin Dynasties. According to 《nan chuangji tan》, “drinking tea began in Liang Tianjian (502 a.d.)”. And according to Wang Bao’s 《Dongyue》, there was a phrase of “cooking all kinds of teas”, which indicated that a set of utensils was needed for cooking tea leaves. It can be seen that there were already utensils for cooking teas in Western Han Dynasty. With the vigorous development of drinking culture in Tang Dynasty, steaming, frying and other techniques were becoming more mature. According to 《Huamanlu》 record: “In Zhengyuan (785 a.d.), when Chang Gung was appointed as Jianshou governor-general for the first time he steamed and studied it, called it YanGaoTea, and then made it into cake shape afterwards; thus it was called one string.” Tea cakes or strings must be fried with utensils before they can be drunk. This undoubtedly promoted the reform of utensils and entered a new age of utensils.
Since the late Middle Ages, copper ‘teapots’ were used for brewing tea in the Song, Yuan and Ming Dynasties. According to the “Changwu Zhi”, since the Song and Yuan Dynasties, teapot was called “teapot” or “Fengpo”. Lu You’s “Over Zedan Poetry” said: “Teapot smoke is known as happy, chess sound sparsely know heartache.” Therefore, there was a name of “Teapot” in Song Dynasty Lu You’s period. The famous teapots in Yuan Dynasty were “Jiang Cast Teapots”, and according to the “Zunsheng Eight Notes”: “In Yuan Dynasty, Jiang Niangzi and Wang Ji from Pingjiang county had their own casting methods, which were excellent at that time.” These two casting methods mainly polished the surface of the teapot to make it smooth and beautiful, and there were delicate patterns like brocade on it. It also said that “the method imitates ancient times, the shape can be seen” and “refining copper is also pure … or made” which refers to gilding. Thus it can be seen that teapots in Yuan Dynasty were very exquisite. Even in Ming Dynasty, social people usually used copper teapots with exquisite carving techniques. Among them was a luxurious bronzed dragon-shaped pot in Ming Dynasty. ‘Dragon’ is an ancient monster name, generally found on ancient bells and tripods. This is a kind of elaborate carving decoration. From this we can see that most of teapots in Ming Dynasty imitated ancient styles with outstanding carving skills.
In the late medieval period of China, in addition to tea caddies for boiling tea, there was also a “soup bottle” specially used for boiling water. At that time, it was commonly known as “tea whistle”, or “tongs” and “chains”. In ancient times, our ancestors mostly used tripods and cauldrons to boil water. According to Huainanzi’sShuoshanxun: “Taste a piece of meat, know the taste of one Cauldron “, Gao Youzhu noted:”There is enough day tripod, no enough day Cauldron”. (In Ming and Qing dynasties, some regions in South China called “Cauldron” Pot.) From historical records, it can be seen that until the late medieval period, the ancient method of boiling water with tripods and cauldrons was gradually replaced by soup bottles.
Some writers in the past believed that the method of “brewing tea” (i.e. “pointing tea”) appeared in China around the Yuan Dynasty, so the water-cooker of the Yuan Dynasty was changed (referring to being modified for use with a soup pot). However, according to historical documents collected by the author, there have been water-cooking bottles since the Southern Song Dynasty. Here are two pieces of historical evidence for reference. The Luojiajing of the Southern Song Dynasty “Helin Yulu” recorded: “The Tea Classic takes fish eyes, springs and beads as boiling water festivals, but in recent years (referring to the Southern Song Dynasty), it is divided into tea, so it is difficult to observe with a tripod and a pottery vessel. Boiling water should be judged by sound one boil, two boils, three boils”. According to Luo Da Jing’s meaning, in ancient times (before the Southern Song Dynasty) boiling water was used with open mouth tripods and pots for easy observation of boiling degree, while changing to bottle boiling made it difficult to observe boiling situation in bottles due to small bottle mouths. It had to judge boiling degree by listening to water sound. The Helin Yulou also said: “Lu’s method is to make tea with powder (referring to crushed tea powder). Therefore, take two boils as a measure of puttin down powder.” Lu Yu was a Tang Dynasty person and author of Tea Classic and is regarded as a pioneer of tea culture in Tang Dynasty China. Such an example can prove thatTang Dynasty had not yet used “soup pot”. According another example from Song dynasty poet Su Shi’s “Tea Panning Poem” he wrote about boiling water saying “Crab eye has passed fish eye; Breeze wants sing like pine……Silver bottle pouring soup boasting second one , haven’t guessed ancient people’s panning idea.” This poem from Su Shi can also be taken as another good example since Song dynasty that people have been using “soup pots” for boiling water.
In the Ming Dynasty, it was a common thing to use “teapots” to boil water, and there were many types and styles of teapots. In terms of metal type, there were tin pots, lead pots and copper pots. At that time, the shape of tea pot was mostly bamboo tube shape. Wen Zhenheng, author of Changwu Zhi said that this kind of bamboo tube shaped teapot had the advantage of “neither leaking fire nor being convenient for point infusion (tea making)”. It can be seen that teapot has two functions, boiling water and making tea. At the same time in Ming Dynasty, porcelain teapot began to be used too, but because “porcelain tea pot boiling water although not robbing soup gas, but not applicable also not elegant.” In fact, porcelain teapot was not used in daily life in Ming Dynasty. There are also strange works in Ming Dynasty “tea pot”. See Song Gu Lianzhu Tongji “One mouthful swallows all the water in Jiangnan area; Pang Lao never realizes himself; Broken pieces look like mud like heaven; Gong County Tea Pot with three mouths”. Amazingly enough, there is a teapot with three mouths in Ming Dynasty which is so fantastic that it goes beyond life reality. Without doubt, this kind of weird teapot can only be used as collection decoration only.