The 17th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage was hosted by the Kingdom of Morocco in Rabat on November 29th, 2022. The project of Chinese traditional tea processing techniques and associated social practices, independently proposed by the People's Republic of China, has been officially inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. As a major part of the project, Jingshan Tea Ceremony has jointly enjoyed the glory.
Having the newly-approved 43rd member, China now ranks the first in the number of the Intangible Cultural Heritage projects on the UNESCO Representative List. Represented by Jingshan Tea Ceremony, the Chinese Tea Culture shapes the image of a country that highly values etiquette, reflecting the distinctive Chinese charm.
Originated in the middle years of the Tang Dynasty (618-907),
Jingshan Tea Ceremony
enjoyed popularity in the Song Dynasty (920-1279). It is a ceremonious tea- etiquette for the distinguished guests hosted by the Wanshou Buddhist Temple of Jing Mountain, Yuhang District, Hangzhou City. Unique and traditional as it is, the Jingshan Tea Ceremony inherits the ancient Chinese tea custom, as well as an outstanding representative of Chinese tea culture. Jingshan Tea Ceremony has more than a dozen of rituals and procedures, namely, posting tea ceremony invitation written in traditional Chinese verse, beating the tea drum, guiding the guests into the hall, burning the incense and praying before the Buddha, pouring hot water over fine powdered tea and drawing on the froth of tea powder, distributing tea into a series of tea cups, serving tea cups to guests, enjoying tea soup while listening to the eminent monk's Gatha, finally expressing thanks and leaving. The essence of Jingshan Tea Ceremony is ruminating on the thought of Zen while drinking tea. Zen
is a major school of Buddhism initiated by a Chinese monk of Tang Dynasty.
Jingshan Tea Ceremony is set with elegance and carried out with a series of rituals. The host is modest
the guests are humble and respectful. The etiquette is perfectly preserved and tea-time-rule is strictly followed. Being full of harmony and implications in simple style, Jingshan Tea Ceremony integrates Zen rules with etiquette and tea arts. It is unanimously established that Jingshan Tea Ceremony is the classic of Zen- Tea- Culture in China.
Jingshan Tea Ceremony has long history and abundant cultural implications. It incarnates the spiritual character of Chinese Zen Tea culture,enriches and dignifies Chinese tea culture and is worth of
Moreover, Jingshan Tea Ceremony, the origin of Japanese Tea Ceremony, facilitates exchanges of Sino-Japan culture. Besides, it has prominent value in folklore for its profound influence on the tea parties formed in the early years of 1900's, and the inherit of folk tea customs of tea drinking in Hangzhou area.
Currently, when visiting the Jingshan Village, the best-known Village of Zen Tea, in the holidays, people can not only taste the green tea, black tea and Matcha, but also learn and practice the Song-style Dian Cha. Holding the bamboo brush, the tea specialist keeps whisking quickly the tea soup for several minutes before she slightly hikes up the brush, when the tea becomes thicker and the froth finally appears. Waiting for a cup of tea as well as appreciating the tea art, the visitors temporarily dressed in Song costume would be amazed by the exquisite style of tea-drinking popular with the intellectuals of the Song Dynasty.
It is not only a recollection of the tradition to retrospect the tea tradition with Song culture essence, but the revitalization of the tea culture. In recent years, Yuhang District has
the theme of Zen Tea, and vigorously promoted the integrated development of culture and tourism. A row of tea cultural events, such as the“Chinese Tea-Sage Festival”, Tea Ancestor Memorial Ceremony, Jingshan Tea-Soup Ceremony, Tea Tasting Carnival of Zen Village has polished the brand of Jingshan Tea. The Jingshan Zen Birthplace Cultural Forum, which has significant influence of Zen tea culture in China, Japan and South Korea, has become an important event of international cultural exchanges. The Yuhang traditional craft workstation named“the source of Tea Ceremony” creates a distinct cultural identity, and a novel cultural space for the display, experience and research of intangible cultural heritage. In the constant tea scent, Yuhang is on the way of displaying the new vitality of rural revitalization and Zen tea culture.
Correspondents: Qi Chen, Beiwen Huang,
Translated by Yaping Wang, YIyang Huang