The Song Dynasty: Tea Wares in Paintings
Posted on May 01 2023
Eulogy of Teawares was written by Senior Shen An（Southern Song, AD1269), a famous tea maker in the Song Dynasty. It is the first atlas of Chinese tea utensils depicting the most typical teawares in the Song Dynasty in detail. He gave every teaware an official’s name, made poems and sketches of twelve teawares. This reflected that Song scholars paid high attention to objects they use for tea.
Tea roller 茶碾
Jin Facao (Gold judicial officer): Tea roller, made of metal, for grinding tea cakes into powder. Song people followed the Tang way of grinding tea but they improved it into more complicated way.
Official’s Name: Jin Facao 今法曹
Tea Baking Cage 茶培笼
Wei Honglu (Bamboo and master of ceremony): Tea baking cage, made of bamboo, has holes all over it so it is also named “ relaxed senior with four windows. “It’s mainly for tea baking. Since people in the Song Dynasty used tea cake lumps, tea cakes had to be stored in dry places to prevent from mildewing after processed. Thus people at that time created this idea of using bamboo cage to store teacakes.
Official’s Name: Wei Honglu韦鸿胪
Function: Store teacakes
Rolling Stone Transporter 茶磨
Shi Zhuangyun (Stone transport): A tea mill, made of stone, was also vividly called “ rolling stone transporter”. The way of using the tea mill was similar to that of the tea roller, which aimed to grind teacakes into powder. Tea mills had large and small sizes. The small one was more suitable for personal use while the large one was always set up by the government as it would use mechanical systems like waterpower.
Official’s Name: Shi Zhuangyun石转运
Tea Hammer 茶槌
Mu Dazhi (Wood page): Tea hammer, to hit tea cakes, made of wood.
Official’s Name: Mu Dazhi木待制
Function: hit tea cakes
Tea Ladle 瓢勺
Hu Yuanwai (Gourd ministry councilor): A gourd ladle for taking water. Song scholars loved to use water from river to boil tea. Su Dongpo, a poet, once described a scene that people use big gourd ladle to take water from river for sea at a night with dim moonlight.
Official’s Name: Hu Yuanwai胡员外
Function: Ladle for taking water
Tea Pot 执壶
Tang Tidian (Water law enforcement officer): Water container, also called”pot with handle”. Mainly used to pour water and drip tea.
Official’s Name: Tang Tidian汤提点
Material: Metal or Porcelain
Function: Water container
Tea Whisk 茶筅
Zhu Fushuai (Bamboo deputy general): Tea brush, made of bamboo, used for mixing tea. A key point to win tea contest in the Song Dynasty was the technique of mixing tea with tea brush.
Official’s Name: Zhu Fushuai竺富帅
Function: Mixing tea
Tea Brush 茶刷
Zong Congshi (Main advisor): A brush for brushing tea powder. After tea was ground and filtered, people would use tea brush to sweep it into a box.
Official’s Name: Zong Congshi宗从事
Function: Bush tea powder
Tea Bowl 茶盏
Tao Baowen (Ceramic auspicious words): Tea bowl, here particularly referred to black- glazed ta bowl. This tea bowl had thick wall. The best one was the black-glazed bowl with hare fur pattern.
Official’s Name: Tao Baowen陶宝文
Function: Tea bowl
Tea Towel 茶巾
Si Zhifang (Marshal) : Tea towel. It was vital to keep clean during tea dripping. Thus tea towel was the essential part among others.
Official’s Name: Si Zhifang司职方／茶巾
Material: Metal or Porcelain
Function: Wipe & clean
Tea Sieve 罗盒
Luo Shumi (Sieve privy councilor): A tea sieve for filtering tea powder. If people paid special attention to the process, tea powder needed filtering with the sieve. Song people praised tea dripping and tea contest, so they had high requirements for tea powder. If people would like to be in a good position in tea contests, tea powder filtering was also an important stage.
Official’s Name: Luo Shumi罗枢密／罗盒
Function: Filter tea powder
Bowl Base 盏托
Qidiao Mige ( Carved lacquer secret shelf): The bowl base to hold bowl and to prevent it from scalding hands. Bowl bases had various shapes in the Song Dynasty. They were normally coated of lacquer.
Official’s Name: Qidiao Mige漆雕秘阁／盏托
Material: Lacquer & Wood
Function: Hold and prevent it from scalding hands.