China Spring 2023: Mid-Trip Update

China Spring 2023: Mid-Trip Update
Jason, Pat, and Zongjun (left to right) at the 前墅龙窑 (Qianshu Longyao, "Qianshu Dragon Kiln") in Yixing. 

The Tea Technique Team's triumphant return to the origin of tea and tea culture is well underway - with half of the trip successfully accomplished. Our time here has exceeded our wildest expectations, both wonder-inducing, gratifying, and humbling.

The level of care and knowledge our tea friends in Shanghai, Yixing, and Chaozhou have extended to us, has filled us with a joy of tea so fine and pure, that we can't help but thirst for more - it inspires us to redouble our efforts on the publication of the current book and future books in the Art and Science of Chinese Tea Ceremony Series.

Focusing on our first and most pertinent stay in Yixing: in addition to observing the complete processing of Yixing ore into clay, studying the craft and tools of Yixing teapot construction, and discussing kiln technology and control across electric, pushbat, and downdraft wood firing - we had the chance to discuss and observe a few more rarified techniques, such as silver repair and clay painting, with local artisans.

Finally, the research for our book would not be complete without a full fact-check, reference check, and direct observation of the historical wares held at the China Yixing Ceramics Museum, where we had the great honor of being hosted by Deputy Director Mr. Chu Yingjun (褚迎军). We thank him greatly for the information and for sharing the museums two new self-published books on Yixing exports to the West.

We've just completed our time in Chaozhou - from here, two of us continue on to Yunnan for additional research on Pu'er tea.

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