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Guqin and Tea 1
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  A qin tong fixes tea while the scholar tunes his qin2                    
Given the importance of tea in Chinese culture, literati culture in particular, it may come as something of a surprise to find out that there are very few references to tea in qin melodies.3 So far I have found only these:

  1. The earliest version of Xue Chuang Ye Hua4 has the word "tea" in the last section title
  2. Cha Ge [Tea Song]5) is the only melody with tea in its title.
Other versions of the former do not use this section title. The latter melody pairs guqin tablature to lyrics by the Tang dynasty poet and tea lover Lu Tong (790–835), but it has survived only in a handbook published in 1616; its tablature is written using a very odd tuning; and there does not seem to be any information about whether the melody ever existed independently from this guqin setting, which was probably never widely played.

Today there is a revival of interest in appreciating the high quality of a great variety of Chinese teas; this interest is marked by the growing number of new Chinese tea museums and sightseeing spots.6 Associated with this is the renewed interest in the Way of the Tea7 (compare the so-called Way of Incense8). Likewise there is a revival of interest in the guqin ("old qin") and in particular in the Way of the Qin.9 This program can provide music that will help listeners experience such a Way, while associated commentary can explore the significance of attitudes towards both qin and tea. This exploration reveals that, just as for proper appreciation of what tea meant to connoisseurs one must use certain basic materials and present it in certain ways, for proper appreciation of qin music and what it meant to connoisseurs one must do the same. With regard to the qin this program argues that a crucial factor is the use of silk strings. To some ears, playing qin with the modern non-silk strings is like drinking instant tea: it is convenient, but the subtle flavors simply are not there.10 (Of course, there is also something to be said for teas that have robustness rather than subtlety.11)

Another connection between tea and the qin is the fact that Zhu Quan, compiler of the first important surviving book of qin melodies, Shen Qi Mi Pu (1425), 15 years later published a Manual of Tea.12 This seems to have been the first book from the Ming dynasty about tea, and some commentary suggests that it was the first one to give details about tea infused directly from tea leaves, as today, instead of the powdered or brick forms popular earlier.13

Internet searches such as "tea guqin" (without quotes) or "琴與茶" (qin and tea) yield thousands of results, with much commentary showing the natural association of qin and tea. Indeed, today it is expected that when one visits a qin friend tea will be served. In some cases the serving of tea may become almost ceremonial.14 Correspondingly, there are some aspects of qin play which also might be considered ritualistic or ceremonial.15 In any case, a Ming essay entitled Tea Treatise (Cha Shu), by Xu Cishu (1549 - 1604), includes the suggestion that it is particularly appropriate to drink tea when listening to qin and looking at art.16

Tea was apparently drunk in China from the most ancient times, the most common legend saying that its benefits were first promoted by (legendary) emperor Shen Nong.17 This legend sometimes says this happened in the Mengshan region west of Chengdu in Sichuan province;18 Mengshan tea is mentioned alongside qin in a well-known poem by Bai Juyi translated here.

Today tea is considered both relaxing and stimulating,19 but until about the 4th C. CE it was largely considered medicinal. By the Tang dynasty it was finding wider use. Then in the 8th century, about 50 years before the aforesaid Lu Tong, Lu Yu took the first formal step in the development of Chinese tea culture by writing his Classic of Tea.20

At the time Lu Yu was writing his Tea Classic tea was formed into blocks. By several centuries later, during the Song dynasty, tea blocks had given way to powdered tea. The main work on this is said to be the Treatise on Tea by Song emperor Huizong.21 Huizong was also important in the world of art and the guqin (details).

It was also during the Song dynasty that tea really came into its own as a social phenomenon. Thus, a primary reason for the lack of tea themes in qin melodies may simply stem from the conservative attitude of literati towards "new" qin melody titles: many new melodies appeared during or after the Song dynasty, but their names reflect very few new themes. Even qin melodies surviving from Ming and Qing dynasty handbooks often have names that connect to people and themes from the Tang dynasty or earlier; "tea" not being a theme of sufficient importance in ancient times, perhaps it was thought there was no need for melodies with such a title.

Programs on qin and tea 22 Playing qin at a teahouse                          

Such programs could take place in a concert hall, but more relevant would be to hold it in an environment where both tea and the music can be appreciated. For the latter the most important factor is quiet.

As for the content of a program on qin and tea, as stated above, only a few qin melodies actually mention tea; the ones I know are:

  1. Tea Song (Cha Ge; comment below)
  2. Evening Talk by a Snowy Window (Xue Chuang Ye Hua; comment below).

However, for this event the melodies themselves need not refer specifically to tea; nor would there necessarily be conversation: with the right presentation the subtle beauty of the tea and music would be self-explanatory. If there is talk it could be recitation of or references to poetry;23 there could also be showing and/or discussion of relevant art.24 There might also be some discussion of what is meant when speaking of the Way of the Qin and the Way of Tea. Although the actual qin music might naturally focus on melodies that deal with subjects that one might discuss while drinking tea, this could thus include pretty much any qin melody.25

Footnotes (Shorthand references are explained on a separate page)

1. Guqin and Tea 琴與茶
The original graph for tea was 31834 荼 (tu; "苦菜也 bitter plants"), not 31686 茶 (cha). The modern form apparently first appeared during the Tang dynasty.

The present page is the focus of my effort to find specific historical, aesthetic and philosophical connections between qin and tea. Although an internet search for "guqin and tea" (without quotes) or 琴與茶 both give many results, there is little specific information there on guqin and tea. As for online information about Chinese tea in general, the Wikipedia pages such as Chinese tea, History of tea in China, Chinese tea culture and Tea classics, plus Chinese Wiki pages such as 茶葉, 中國茶文化, and 茶道 (the latter mostly concerning Japan) are useful beginning points. The website of the National Museum of Tea in Hangzhou (home of the Chinese International Tea Culture Institute) also has useful information. The Cha Dao website includes a useful list of webpages that concern tea. And Tea Arts, a blog in Chinese and English by Steven R. Jones in Taiwan has a particularly useful page called Tea Terms 2010. My thanks to Steven for his advice on tea and tea culture.

There are a number of books in English available on tea and the Way of Tea. These include:

  1. Erling Hoh, Victor H. Mair, The True History of Tea (London, Thames and Hudson, 2009; the most detailed account; see Mair interview: .pdf)
  2. Joseph Needham, Science and Civilization in China, Volume VI/5, Fermentations and Food Science, by H.T. Huang (2000); has one of the best historical accounts of the use of tea in China. It is in a section called Tea processing and utilisation (pp. 503-570). Its Romanization refers to Zhu Quan as Chu Chhuan and his book (see below) as Chha Phu.
  3. John Blofeld, The Chinese Art of Tea (George Allen and Unwin, 1985); good but no index or Chinese characters
  4. John C. Evans, Tea in China: The History of China's National Drink (NY, Greenwood Press, 1992); good but inadequate index and no Chinese characters
  5. Kit Chow and Ione Kramer, All the Tea in China (China Books and Periodicals, 1990); emphasis on pictures
  6. Francis Ross Carpenter (transl.), The Classic of Tea by Lu Yu (Boston, Little, Brown and Co., 1974); the introduction adds some detail. No Chinese characters
  7. Jiang Yi, Jiang Xin (transl.), The Classic of Tea and (Lu Tingcan) The Sequel to the Classic of Tea (Library of Chinese Classics, Hunan People's Publishing House, 2 vols., 2009); bi-lingual, but translation often awkward

The present website has a brief mention of the emergence of tea culture in the article by James Watt. As for tea ceremonies, see below.

Tea lovers also known for their connection to qin include:

  1. Pi Rixiu
  2. Lu Guimeng (reference)
  3. Su Dongpo (reference)
  4. Zhu Quan (further below)
  5. Zhang Dai (reference)
  6. Jiang Can

As this page is further developed more of such connections will be found and mentioned. (Old names for tea, including 荼 tu [苦荼], 茗 ming, 磚/甎 zhuan [brick or brick tea], 檟 jia and 蔎 she must also be considered along with 茶 cha.)

2. Fixing tea while a qin is tuned (For Art and Qin see below)
The above image is from the qin handbook Yangchuntang Qinpu (1611; QQJC VII/349-350.

3. References to tea
A search of this site for "茶" or "tea" gives quite a few further references; see, for example, comments on wine and tea in this paragraph. There are also occasional references to tea in qin song lyrics (example), but as yet I have not yet been able to search all the qin song lyrics for more such references.

The tentative program outline lists further specific references.

4. Mention of tea in the section title of a qin melody
The 1525 version of the last section of the melody 雪窗夜話 Xue Chuang Ye Hua (Evening Talk by a Snowy Window) calls the last section Heating the cauldron and boiling tea.

5. Tea Song (茶歌 Cha Ge)
This melody, now discussed on a separate page, survives only in Lixing Yuanya (1618).

6. Chinese tea museums and sightseeing spots
The only museum on the following list that I have personally seen is the first one. I would be happy to hear from people who have visited these or others. I would be particularly interested to hear of a museum trying to provide evidence that might counter what seems to be the prevailing modern attitude that tea before about 1500 didn't taste good enough that we should try to re-create its flavors.

There is an increasing number of tea museums, and this list is certainly not complete:

  1. 中國茶葉博物館 The China National Tea Museum (further)
    杭州龍井路 #88 Longjing Road, Hangzhou.
  2. 大唐貢茶院 Great Tang Dynasty Tribute Tea Museum, Changxing, Zhejiang
    浙江,長興 (present title unclear - see below)
  3. 武夷山茶博園 Wuyi Mountain Tea Theme Park
    Fujian (further info)
  4. 茶具文物館 Flagstaff House Museum of Teaware
    Hong Kong Park, Hong Kong
  5. 坪林茶葉博物館 Pinglin Tea Industry Museum (Wiki)
    Taipei county, Taiwan

China National Tea Museum (中國茶葉博物館 Zhongguo Chaye Bowuguan) (Wikipedia)
This museum is a tourist site in the hills west of East Lake. As 0f 2015 the English pages of its website were no longer available.

Great Tang Dynasty Tribute Tea Museum (大唐貢茶院 Datang Gongchayuan), Changxing, Zhejiang (website)
This museum, which opened in 2008, is a tourist site located in a bamboo forest amidst hills north of Huzhou city (長興 Changxing, part of Huzhou district, is near the southwestern end of Taihu). This is said to have been the original site of a factory supervised by Lu Yu, and some effort has been made to replicate this factory. The museum, which includes a 陸羽閣 Lu Yu Pavilion, celebrates the role of Lu Yu in advancing the Chinese tea industry, and as a result it is also sometimes called the (陸羽)大唐貢茶院 (Lu Yu) Tang Dynasty Imperial Tea Factory, or simply the Lu Yu Tea Musuem. Since "tribute tea" means the best quality tea, intended for the emperor, the title may also sometimes be translated as the Great Tang Imperial Tea Museum.

7. Way of Tea (茶道 Cha Dao)
31686.155 says only 茶技 tea skills, with reference to 封氏聞見記,飲茶 Record of Feng Family Knowledge, Drinking Tea, a book compiled in the Tang dynasty by 封演 Feng Yan. This term was used more commonly in Japan, related to the development of their tea ceremony. The present day Chinese tea ceremony" seems to be at least in part inspired by the popularity of the Japanese tea ceremony. Similarly the Japanese also developed Way of Incense (next footnote).

8. The Way of Incense (茶道 Xiang Dao) Incense list (expand) 12/432xxx 香道 xiang dao); the lack of references suggests that, as with the Way of Tea, although in China there is a long history of incense use - including appreciating its aromas as well as its psychological effects - formal events built around the appreciation of incense developed to a greater extent in Japan, where there are records of events centered around identifying and appreciating various scents, whether perfumes or incenses; this seems to have at least in part inspired a revival of interest in this amongst Chinese.

In 1974, when I first began playing qin, I searched for historical information on the use of incense in China. As usual with such matters the main source of reliable information was Joseph Needham, specifically Science and Civilization in China, beginning with Volume 5:2 (Chemistry and Chemical Technology), 33. Alchemy and Chemistry, b.7.1 Incense, prototypal reactant. Needham has many further references, but here there was a list of substances used in early times (the chart at right [expand], from page 137, is his Table 94: Constituents of incense, and other reactants).

Unfortunately Needham did not include practical information on how to burn these substances, nor did I find information on the history of incense sticks or coils.

Generally speaking, to burn fragrant substances you need either to mix them with a combustible base (as with incense sticks or powder), or to apply an exernal source of heat (e.g., charcoal). According to my understanding, if the fragrant substance is in powdered form, then to burn it in an incense pot it should be put on a bed of ash (and charcoal?) so that air can circulate around it.

Many years ago, when I lived in Taiwan, in order to burn incense in my incense pot at home I went to a local roadside shrine (temple) and asked if they could give me some ash to help me burn my own incense. I was told that if you wished to bring home ash from a temple then you needed to ask permission from the temple deity, as you would in effect becmaking your home into an extension of the temple. This was done by first saying a prayer and making the request, then waving and tossing two 筊杯 jiao bei (also 擲筊, etc): half-moon-shaped divining blocks flat on one side, round on the other. "Yes" or "no" depended on whether both were same side up or were opposite sides up. I followed the instructions and got a "Yes", but then the lady who was apparently in charge of the shrine said that, actually, for such matters in order to get permission you had to get three straight yesses. At this point the lady's daughter distracted her mother for a moment, gave me a cup of ash, and quickly ushered me out a side door.

Searching this site for incense will turn up a number of references to incense, including,

As yet I still do not know what fragrance to burn, and how, to know what was on the mind (via the nose), e.g., of the person at the end of the 16th century who was playing and singing Guiyuan Cao.

9. Way of the Qin (琴道 Qin Dao)
21570.70 makes reference to a chapter called Qin Dao in the Xin Lun by 桓譚 Huan Tan (ca. 43 BCE - 28 CE). The best account in English of the Way of the Qin is Lore of the Chinese Lute by R. H. van Gulik.

10. Tea and silk string guqin
The famous qin player Gong Yi as reported in the Shanghai Daily to have said, "Guqin is not soda, but a cup of green tea". Although a traditionalist might well feel that soda is to green tea as metal string qin is to silk string qin, probably a better comparison is to say that instant tea is to green tea as metal string qin is to silk string qin. This statement should also be qualified by "all other things being appropriate". Thus, to appreciate silk strings one must have an appropriately peaceful and quiet environment, just as to appreciate good tea one must have good water, clean cups, and so forth.

It should be emphasized here that extolling the virtues of Chinese teas is not intended as a criticism of, or even a comment on, teas such as British milk tea, American iced tea, Indian masala tea, and so forth, any more than extolling the virtues of silk string qin should be seen as a criticism of, or even a comment on, music instruments such as piano, guitar, metal string or any other forms of qin.

11. Subtle vs robust
Or: comfort vs enlightenment? Hot vs cold? Etc. The aim here is to point out and understand different tastes, not to rate one over the other.

12. 朱權 Zhu Quan and his Tea Manual (茶譜 Cha Pu, 1439 or 1440; sample page)
Although the influence of Zhu Quan (1378 - 1448) on tea culture is said to be very important, it is difficult to compare this with his work with guqin. His tea manual is discussed in some detail on a separate page. His bio page shows a statue of him at 武夷山 Wuyi Shan in Fujian (regarding which see Record of Wuyi Shan).

13. Importance of Zhu Quan for the development of tea culture
A paragraph in my page on Zhu Quan's Tea Manual has my analysis of Zhu Quan's potential importance in the development of tea and tea culture.

14. "Chinese Tea Ceremony" (Wiki)
Events of this name have become quite popular recently as part of a revival of interest in Chinese traditions. However, many people say that, although in the past there may have been at certain times and places what might be called ritualistic or ceremonial aspects of tea drinking, these were never codified the way they were in Japan (and perhaps Korea). The skeptics even claim that the modern "Chinese tea ceremony" originated as tourist events indebted to the well-known status of tea ceremonies in Japan.

Whatever its origins, though, it is undeniable that such ceremonies have now become important within Chinese communities both in China and overseas.

A thorough discussion of this topic, beyond the scope of the present page, needs to consider various terms, including:

The modern Chinese ceremony is said to have codified elements mainly from Fujian practices (though some also credit nearby areas of Guangdong via the term 潮汕工夫茶 Chaoxian Gongfu tea ceremony, Chaoxian being a region near 潮州 Chaozhou in Guangdong province). The earliest reference to the common terms 8911.8 工夫茶 and 2331.6 功夫茶 (both gōngfu cha) is given as 閩雜記 Min Zaji (19th c.), describing it as a method of boiling tea in Fujian and Guangdong. Once again, many people adamantly claim that though the method of making and serving tea is important, it should be relaxing, not formal (current online example).

Nevertheless, tea ceremonies are now with us, a typical outline being as follows (taken here from China Gaze):

    "Tea Ceremony" (一泡茶 yī pào chá ["a pouring of tea"] or 泡茶 pào chá [pouring/brewing tea])
  1. Preparation of the materials (備茶 bèi chá)
  2. Adding boiling water to the tea (行茶 xíng chá)
  3. Steeping the tea (沏茶 qī chá)
  4. Serving the tea (奉茶 fèng chá)
  5. Tasting the tea (品茶 pǐn chá)
  6. Exchanging views about the tea (交流 jiāo liú)
  7. Saying farewell (賦歸 fù guī).

Recently in Taiwan the 陸羽茶藝中心 Lu-Yu Tea Culture Institute developed a "無我茶會 Wuwo Chahui (literally "Selfless Tea Ceremony"). The Wiki page currently called "Taiwanese tea culture" was originally called the Wu-Wo Tea Ceremony. There is a further account here.

Personally I appreciate very much drinking good tea prepared by someone who knows what they are doing, and am puzzled by qin players who criticize teabag tea but prefer to use metal strings rather than silk strings on a qin because they think the latter is "too much trouble".

15. Qin rituals?
The repeated playing of a melody in order to center oneself (see under Xianweng Cao), though not actually a ritual, serves a similar function. Likewise are such rules that before play one should put on clean clothing, brush the teeth, and so forth.

16. Tea Treatise (茶疏 Cha Shu) by 徐次紓 Xu Cishu (1549 - 1604)
This essay includes "鼓琴看畫 when playing qin and looking at paintings" as the 7th of his 24 most appropriate occasions for drinking tea("飲時"; the 21st was "酒闌人散 when the wine has run out so your guests have left".)

17. Origin of Chinese tea drinking
This external site says Emperor Shen Nong introduced the benefits of tea at 蒙山 Mengshan (see next footnote).

18. Mengshan Tea 蒙山茶
Mengshan (Mount Meng) is in 名山縣 Mingshan county, west of Chengdu in Sichuan province (near Qionglai). Meng Peak Sweet Dew Tea (Wiki) is grown here.

19. Tea: both relaxing and stimulating
Tea has both caffeine, which stimulates, and other substances (e.g. tannin) which relax. According to various sources (e.g. Evans, Tea in China, pp.149-50, The Tea-Strength Fallacy) the first two minutes of infusion brings out the caffeine. If you use a lot of tea leaves but infuse it quickly it is stimulating; if you infuse it for several minutes, throw away the water, then infuse again it is relaxing. This theory, which online sources copy unquestioningly, has not been scientifically confirmed; some say the decaffeination process takes much longer.

20. Lu Yu and the Classic of Tea (陸羽,茶經)
Lu Yu (733 - ca.804; Bio/1305;; Wiki/中文) had the style name 鴻漸 Hongjian, but he had a number of other names as well, including 茶宇翁 Chayuweng (Old Man of the Tea World), 竟陵子 Jinglingzi (Scholar of Jingling), 陸疾 Lu Ji (Suffering Lu), 桑苧翁 Sangzhuweng (Old Man of Mulberries and Hemp) and 季疵 Jici. Born in 復州 Fuzhou in modern Hubei province, he is said to have been an orphan, adopted by the Chan monk 智積 Zhiji of 龍蓋寺 Longgai Monastery. However, he refused to become a monk and when assigned menial work fled to become a street entertainer. Soon, however, he was noticed by the local governor of Jingling, 李齊物 Li Qiwu, who sponsored his education. He then developed his tea skills as a disciple of 鄒夫子 Zou Fuzi on 火門山 Huomen mountain northwest of 竟陵 Jingling (now 天門 Tianmen in central Hubei province). In 752 he returned to Jingling, where he was befriended by the new governor, 崔國輔 Cui Goufu. Around 755 because of the An Lushan disturbances he fled south, ending up in 湖州 Huzhou, Zhejiang province, where at the 妙西 Miaoxi Temple he became a friend of the monk Jiaoran. They traveled together investigating tea, then he eventually settled as a hermit in nearby 顧渚山 Guzhu Mountain near 苕溪 Tiaoxi, an area named after a stream passing through modern 吳興 Wuxing and 長興 Changxing. Here he began work on his Tea Classic, the first edition of which has been dated to about 766. He continued to work on this book here and then back in Huzhou, where he built a new home 青塘別業 Qingtang Bieye and continued his project with sponsorship from 颜真卿 Yan Zhenqing, whose library gave Lu Yu access to much historical information. He then wrote a number of other books in addition to revised editions of the Classic of Tea. (There is now a museum here.)

ICTCL (186, 270, 843) mentions Lu Yu's friendship with Li Ye, work with Jiaoran and others, and his autobiography. See also his reported question to Zhang Zhihe.

The Wikipedia pages on the Classic of Tea (茶經 31686.170) and on the Tea Classics have further information; the latter page includes the Tea Manual of Zhu Quan (mentioned above) and the Continuation of the Classic of Tea (below).

Lu Tingcan and The Sequel to the Classic of Tea (陸廷燦,續茶經)
Lu Tingcan (42620.113; Bio/1317; not 陸延燦 Lu Yancan), style name 秋昭 Qiuzhao, lived in the early Qing dynasty. He wrote at least
one poem that mentions qin and tea. The book includes an extensive 茶之略 Outline of (writings about) Tea. Note that although this list does not include Zhu Quan's Cha Pu, in his chapter on 茶之具 Implements for Teas he does quote Zhu Quan on Cha Zao.

Lu Tingcan's Sequel is dated 1734. A translation by Jiang Yi and Jiang Xin, together with their translation of the Classic of Tea, has been published by the Library of Chinese Classics, Hunan People's Publishing House, 2 vols., 2009).

21. Treatise on Tea by Song emperor Huizong (宋徽宗:大觀茶論, 1107)
This treatise by the Song Huizong emperor (r. 1101-1126) is discussed in Wikipedia; see: Treatise on Tea (中文). Powdered tea effectly disappeared from China, but is still drunk in Japan; the Japanese tea ceremony uses powdered tea. It might thus be argued that Huizong's influence on tea was stronger in Japan than in China. (Japanese refer ot this powdered tea as 抹茶 matcha (Wiki.)

22. Performances on the theme of qin and tea (For Art and Qin see below)
The above image is from a photo taken 23 May 2008 at the 千禧茗茶 Qianxi Mingcha Teahouse in Qingdao, during a solo performance to benefit Sichuan earthquake victims (part of the 2008 Marco Polo tour).

In October of 2006 I also performed at the Wisteria Tea House (Ziteng Lu) in Taipei, for a qin class taught by Yuan Chung-Ping (袁中平 Yuan Zhongping); it is located at No 1, Lane 16, Sinsheng South Road, Section 3 (紫藤廬,台北市新生南路三段16巷1號 02-2363 7375).

23. Poetry with qin and tea (for art see below; for the Lu Tong poem used as qin melody lyrics see the separate page.
A preliminary search has turned up several poems that mention both qin and tea:

  1. Qin and Tea, by Bai Juyi (772 - 846)

    自拋官後春多醉,不讀書來老更閒。   elsewhere often "春多夢"

    Tentative translation:
    I feel out of place in bustling crowds,
        being true to nature is to relax as a free spirit.
    Having cast off official rank I am drunk with (or "in a dream of") spring,
        not reading books relaxes an old man.
    With qin I feel kinship when hearing melodies like "Clear Water",
        while with tea for a long time it has been the same with Mengshan (tea).
    Failure and success, going and staying: these always go together;
        and since I have qin and tea, who can say I have no friends?

  2. Seeking Recluse Dai, by Huangfu Ran (715 - 768)


  3. Rain and Sunshine, by Lu You (1125 - 1210)


    The third line of this poem, one of Lu You's 300 Poems on Tea, is often extracted as a couplet, tentatively translated as follows:

    Bright tea whisked in the cup turns milky white,
        Qin horizontal on several rocks with a trickling spring resounding.
    (This has become an expression for an elegant scholarly gathering.)

  4. Winter evening, also by Lu You


  5. Arriving Home...., another poem by Lu You


    More poems by Lu You that mention both qin and tea include:

  6. Opening east.... 開東園路北至山腳因治路傍隙地雜植花草

  7. Luzhou.... 瀘州使君岩在城南一里深三丈有泉出其左音中律呂木龍岩相距亦裡許黃太史所嘗遊憩也

  8. Plum Sky 梅天

  9. Autumn rain clearing up 秋霽

  10. Mountain Home (#1) 山家

  11. Writing Circumstances 書況

  12. Play books as a daily affair 戲書日用事

  13. Early arrival at the garden 早至園中

  14. During a vegetarian meal... 齋中弄筆偶書示子聿

  15. Tea of Wuyi, by Lu Tingcan (also wrote a "Continuation of the Tea Classic", 1734)


  16. Walking in the Wilds, Meeting Xi Zhi, Boiling Tea and Listening to a Qin, by Li Peng (11th c.)

    (缺 [incomplete: 43 characters; copied from Qinshu Daquan, Folio 19, #124;
    喜智 Xi Zhi: Happy Wisdom; 鵯鵊 beijia 48032.1)

  17. A couplet from "Wannian Temple at Sichuan's Emei Shan", by Zhang Ao (Bio/xxx; 10026.1526: 17th-18th c)

    Water on bamboo, wind in the pines, rain on banana leaves;
    Vapor from the tea, sounds of qin, sounds of reading aloud.
    (This extract has also become an expression for an elegant scholarly gathering)

Many websites list 茶聯 tea couplets such as these latter two (presumably copying each other); none seems to give the full poem.

24. Art with qin and tea (for poetry see above) Tea boy      
There are many classical paintings which show tea being brewed while qin is being played (or contemplated); see. e.g.,

  1. The right hand panel of Four Arts (inset at right)
  2. The first image in Kuian Qinpu
  3. There is a teapot in front of the qin player in Tang Yin's The Lutanist (closeup).
  4. One lady is holding a tea tray while another tunes her qin in Zhou Fang (ca. 800), Tuning a qin and sipping tea (中文)

More to be added. It might also be noted that Watt's comment on the Tang Yin painting suggests that it conveys a certain amount of posturing, with something self-conscious about brewing tea here in the garden.

25. Program: tea and guqin
Although I have performed in tea houses, I have not yet done a specific program centered on tea and tea culture. As such a program develops further, more direct connections will be added between qin and tea. I have not yet been able to see a copy of Zhu Quan's Manual of Tea (Cha Pu); it is possible that an interesting program could be done putting commentary or practices from this manual together with melodies from his qin handbook.

Meanwhile, here are some melodies which might have some particular relevance:

  1. Tea Song (Cha Ge)
    Lyrics by Lu Tong; only in Lixing Yuanya (1618)
  2. Evening Talk by a Snowy Window (Xue Chuang Yehua)
    The last section is called Heating the cauldron and boiling tea
  3. Autumn Thoughts at Dongting (Dongting Qiu Si)
    Autumn thoughts from an island in Taihu Lake (near Suzhou in Jiangsu province),
    but Dongting Bi Luo Chun is a famous spring tea; melody is a prelude to:
  4. A Drunk Fisherman Sings in the Evening (Zui Yu Chang Wang)
    Associated with Pi Rixiu (edited Classic of Tea) and Lu Guimeng (later gave up wine for tea)
  5. Cangwu Lament (Cangwu Yuan) and
  6. Lament of the Xiang River Concubines (Xiangfei Yuan)
    Both melodies are connected to Junshan island in Hunan's Dongting lake;
    the local tea called Junshan silver needle is well-known.
  7. Water Dragon Intonation (Shuilong Yin)
    There are "水龍茶杯 water dragon tea cups", and the melody was played by Zhang Dai,
    who had a particular interest in the water used for tea
  8. Withdrawing from Society (Dunshi Cao)
    Originally transmitted by Zhu Quan; a later version added lyrics that mention a tea stove (comment)
  9. High Mountains (Gao Shan) and
  10. Flowing Streams (Liu Shui)
    See the story about Peiwoh (Boya) from Okakura's Book of Tea and the commentary in his book.

The last three of these melodies I play according to the qin handbook Shen Qi Mi Pu (1425), compiled by Zhu Quan; any other melodies from this handbook could thus also naturally be included.

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