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Ancient tea relics and 50-year-old Tieguanyin unveiled in the Palace Museum to promote tea craftsmanship

By Wu Chengliang, Liu Ning, Morag Hobbs (People's Daily Online)    10:03, December 03, 2018

Tieguanyin is a premium variety of Chinese oolong tea originated in Anxi County, Fujian Province. 50 years in deep storage has strengthened one particular jar of Anxi Tieguanyin's earthy notes. The Fujian Anxi Tieguanyin Group has brought it as a gift to the Palace Museum at a Chinese tea culture themed activity held on Nov 16. As part of the display, two ancient imperial tea relics were also unveiled, tracing back the traditional Chinese culture and promoting the spirit of tea makers through the ages.

"For thousands of years, Chinese society has evolved thanks to craftsmanship being passed down from generation to generation, particularly in tea making." said Liu Jiheng, Chairman of Fujian Anxi Tieguanyin Group. He further explained: "Craftsmen in tea making all have certain characteristics in common: perseverance, tenacity and a sense of inner peace. Making tea is not just about the technique, but more importantly about a combination of spirit and technique."

Tea farmers pick tea leaves in Anxi, Fujian Province.

"For Anxi Tieguanyin, we have a strong will to make it a better industry and export it to the world," Liu added.

There are over 1.8 million items stored and on display in the Palace Museum, of which more than 480 are tea relics. Hundreds of years ago, oolong tea from what is now Fujian province was sent as a tribute to the emperor.

"Tea is part of the Palace Museum collection, so the area from which the tea originates has an excellent opportunity to popularize its tea culture and industry through the platform," said Liang Jinsheng, a former director of the Department of Cultural Relics Administration at the Palace Museum.

Today, four tea masters from Anxi county took a solemn oath in front of the historical tea: "To make great tea, to never forget why we started, to inherit and to pass on, to protect Chinese tea, to carry forward the spirit of craftsmanship, and to devote our wisdom and strength to help the Chinese tea industry thrive."

They were selected by the Anxi Tieguanyin Tea Masters Competition to spread the spirit of craftsmanship around China.

50 years in deep storage has strengthened this jar of Anxi Tieguanyin's earthy notes. (Photo/Liu Ning)

Wang Qinghai, one of the tea masters explained: "The great cup of Anxi Tieguanyin tea comes from Anxi's unique climate, geographic location, craftsmanship and the particular tea leaves used. "

"Anxi has over a thousand years of history in making tea. We will continue to lead the tea farmers in Anxi to make great tea, to bring the pure fragrance of Guanyin leaves and flowers to the tea lovers," Wang added.

Tieguanyin is a premium variety of Chinese oolong tea originated in Anxi County, Fujian Province.

Echoing Wang's thought, Li Jindeng, another tea master who took the oath in front of the tea relics, said: "I feel very proud to see the extensive and profound culture of our tea featured and showcased here. What touches me the most is that our ancestors have left us with the craftsmanship of making tea. Of course, we will continue to carry it forward."

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Liu Ning, Bianji)

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