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Art of Tea in China, The

by: Danying and Wang, Jianrong Guo

Beijing China: Foreign Languages Press 2003, Paperback
ISBN: 987-7-119-03322-8

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Fall Volume: 2008 Issue: 15(4) page(s): 25

Not new, but nifty, this book discusses tea cultivation, picking, and other particulars. It delves into items used to drink it, equipment–-ancient and modern to make it, and current and ethnic minority etiquette for drinking tea at weddings and other wondrous times. The book also includes information about Chinese teahouses and how tea spread to the western world.

Color photographs of Camellia sinensis, wild and cultivated, and others historic and current, are about people and places tea-related; they are excellent to glance at and to study. Most are in color, a few golden oldies are in sepia, or some a single color. With China the birthplace of this beverage, this earliest of civilizations made use of it medicinally and as a beverage. Read and relish how tea has been since ancient times, an indispensable part of Chinese people's lives.

Some pictures in the book are items we have never seen, some written words things we never knew. In the former category is one of Dai people making bamboo tube tea, in the latter, that tea in bamboo is called na dou in the Dai language. There are many others worth knowing. These include looking at the color photograph of the dozen items often used to make pounded tea, a 19th century picture of green-tea making, and money issued by the Silk and Tea Bank of China. It truly is a nifty book, one very nice to own.

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