Monday, November 15, 2010

Tea Tuesday

Today I'm having a cup of Tazo Lotus Green Tea 
in what I call my rice with dragon set from China.

The pattern in the clay is made using rice. Once it is fired, only the pattern is left.
You can see a flower outline on the tea pot.

The dragon (painted in a lovely blue) is found on the inside bottom of the cup and on the saucer.

I had dim sum and tea with a friend and was reminded of one of my favorite tea stories from China when my friend tapped two fingertips on the table after I poured the tea.

Over the years the Chinese imperial court adopted the custom of drinking tea. They drank it in the ornamental gardens, or in special small buildings dedicated to making and serving tea to family or friends. In the cities, pavilions for taking tea became meeting places and were visited by men who would talk politics or business or simply relax. Special equipment was developed, culminating in the decorative pots and cups that we see today. Taking tea became a formal process and different styles of making and drinking tea developed. Some of these special traditions remain today.

One such tradition is to tap on the table and there is a story behind this. An emperor was concerned about the living conditions of his subjects and wished to see for himself what life was like outside the court. He dressed as an ordinary man and, taking a few guards with him, also dressed in ordinary clothes, went to a tea pavilion in the town. He asked for tea, and a pot of tea with cups was brought to the table. The waiter poured the tea and set the pot beside the emperor. When they had drunk the cups of tea, the emperor served more tea to his men. The men needed a secret way to show their gratitude and respect to their emperor and, using two fingers, his guards bent their knuckles and knocked then on the table. This was to signify kneeling before him. A reference to this tradition survives today: when your host pours you a cup of tea you should tap your first two fingertips twice on the table as thanks.

There are lots of Tea Parties in Blogland.
Two of my favorites:
for tea cups on parade be sure to visit Teacup Tuesday.
Thank you ladies!

Silver jasmine is a delicate flower that adds a sweet fragrance and light flavor to green tea.
(365 Things Every Tea Lover Should Know)

Wishing you well, a JOY filled week and a great cup of tea!


Crafty Christina said...

Great tea set and I love those fabric pumpkins!

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Uh oh, I think I found a kindred spirit. I read and reread your profile and laughed out loud. We have lots of similarities.

Love your postings. There are just too many great blogs to keep up...back to work now.

Wishing you a joyous week,

Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

Barb said...

Another interesting story to go with tea, Snap. I don't know how you decide which of your many tea sets to use!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Interesting story, Snap.... Love the idea of tapping your fingers to say thanks....

Love your dragon tea set.... Goes perfectly with your screen name, doesn't it???? ha

Cute pumpkins also.

Pondside said...

I like that tradition, and I'll pass it along.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

What a charming story about tapping! Never heard it before.

Cezar and Léia said...

Impressive story, about pride and honor, it's a lovely tea decoration,so special and elegant.I love the delicate and light blue.
purrs and love
Luna - WE LOVE LUNA and mommy Léia

Sall's Country Life said...

I love that tea mother has a small set and I'm always looking for more of it! I haven't found it yet, so protect yours. I also love the tea tradition story. Something to pass along to my Shakespeare Garden friends who have teas all the time. Thank you for your comments on my blog, I've decided to be a follower of yours...look's like fun!

Bookie said...

Excellent tea choice for this charming tea set!

Terri said...

Lovely tea set. And your story is very interesting. Thanks so much for sharing with us today.

dosfishes said...

dragon tea set, but of course. Crochet mystery was a hoot, and the Laotian one got left on the plane by mistake so it is now in someone elses hands to read.
Glad I had your books with me though! Glad to be back and see your neighborhood doorways decked out in such splendid fashion! xox Corrine

Under Her Wings said...

Very interesting! Thank you for giving us that info. Now I know how to show my gratefulness for a good cup of tea. Have a blessed week.

Brenda ~ Shabby Cats and Roses said...

Hi Snap :) Such a lovely tea set, and those pumpkins are just adorable! Thanks so much for stopping by!

Happy Tea Tuesday!!

Warmest hugs, Brenda

LDH said...

Very pretty tea set. Sweet tradition/story about tapping two fingers as a sign of thanks. :)

KathyB. said...

The cup and saucer & teapot are pretty, well, actually they are classy. I like the way you tell stories about tea when you post on Teacup Tuesdays.Now I will retell this story if I remember to tap on the table during tea with friends~

shirley said...

Interesting tradition on the tapping fingers. I'll have to remember to do that the next time I am served tea.

And I love your tea set!

paperbutterfly said...

I love this custom!! and the story that it came from. Thank you for sharing the way the teaset is made and the history. This is what makes Tuesday so special.
Hope we see you soon with more customs and pretty china.
Blessings, Pam

Kathy said...

Amazing teacup artistry creation! I love learning new things - appreciate you sharing,

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Very interesting post. It's amazing how much we don't really know about the traditions of tea.