CHINA HERITAGE QUARTERLY China Heritage Project, The Australian National University ISSN 1833-8461
No. 29, March 2012


Tea Utensils Illustrated | China Heritage Quarterly

Tea Utensils Illustrated 茶具圖贊

The Old Man Who Examines the Usages of Peace 審安老人

Translated by Duncan Campbell
The Australian National University

Translator's Note

Tea Utensils Illustrated, translated in part below, is an obscure work of some considerable interest. Dated to 1269, towards the very end of the Song dynasty (960-1279), nothing is known about the author other than his pseudonym, The Old Man Who Examines the Usages of Peace. Likewise, nothing is known about Mao Yixiang, the Ming-dynasty author of an 'Introduction' to the work found attached to version of the text published by the late-Ming Hangzhou publisher in his Compendium of Knowledge Gained Through the Investigation of Things 格致叢書. In its playful manner the text provides invaluable visual evidence about the accouterments of tea drinking at a particular stage of its history.—Duncan Campbell

Introduction 引
Mao Yixiang 茅一相

I am myself, by nature, no great drinker of wine. When occasionally I join my friends to admire the beauty of a garden in spring, for instance, or go out boating upon a lake under an autumnal moon, I take great pleasure in observing that they always drink, and that when they drink they always become drunk. Whenever I am prevailed upon to join in, however, I find that my face becomes quickly flushed and my pupils confused.

By contrast, my particular predilection is simply for tea that, when brewed with water drawn from a clear spring and which flows over white stones, can serve both to cleanse the Five Viscera of their filth and rid the Heart of its accumulated obstacles. Tea can be taken endlessly and makes one feel as if one's armpits are about to sprout wings and take one souring upon a zephyr that has happened to spring up, from where one can gaze down upon one's guests lying about hopelessly intoxicated. Over time, tea makes one forget one's weariness and proves far superior to wine. Alas. Whenever I read 'The Record of the Village of Drunkenness' I find myself setting off there in my mind. Occasionally, I also find myself taking issue with both Lu You and Cai Xiang, before suddenly finding myself understanding their arguments.

I have written this only in the hope that that it may evoke a round of applause from the twelve fine gentlemen listed below.

This Introduction written by Mao Yixiang, the Master of the Garden of the Fragrant Iris of Flower Brook Village
The Sixteenth Day of the Seventh Month, Autumn, of the Gengchen Year[1580]

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1. The Minister of Ceremonies, Wei Wending (The Idle Old Man of the Four Windows) [Tea Firer] Page

2. The Edict Attendant, Mu Liji (The Layman from Beyond the Bamboo) [Tea Mallet] Page

3. The Minister of Justice, Jin Yangu (Former Resident of Yong, a.k.a. Master Harmonious Lute) [Tea Roller] Page

4. The Transport Commissioner, Shi Zaochi (The Reclusive Gentleman of the Incense Room) [Tea Grinder] Page

5. The Vice Director, Hu Weiyi (The Immortal Old Man who Hoards the Moon) [Gourd Ladle] Page

6. The Military Affairs Commissioner, Luo Ruoyao (The Superior Official who Dreams of Reclusion) [Sieve Box] Page

7. The Gentleman Attendant, Zong Zifu (Friend of the Brook who Sweeps the Clouds) [Tea Whisk] Page

8. The Imperial Archivist, Qidiao Chengzhi (The Old Man of the Ancient Terrace] [Tea Saucer] Page

9. Attendant in the Hall for the Treasuring of Culture, Tao Quyue (Honoured Guest of the Hare Garden) [Tea Cup] Page

10. The Superintendent, Tang Faxin (Survivor of the Warm Valley) [Tea Jug]

11. The Vice Preceptor, Zhu Shantiao (The Duke of the Snow Waves) [Tea Brush] Page

12. Attendant in the Bureau of Operations, Si Chengshi (The Layman of the Studio of Purity) [Tea Napkin] Page