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times for drinking tea

One of my small (and large) pleasures is drinking tea. My friend Aaron, a bigger fan of tea even than me, passed this on to me (from the Ch’a Shu, Ming dynasty tea manual):

Times for drinking tea

  • in idle moments
  • when bored with poetry
  • thoughts confused
  • beating time to songs
  • when the music stops
  • living in seclusion
  • enjoying scholarly pastimes
  • conversing late at night
  • studying on a sunny day
  • in the bridal chamber
  • detaining favored guests
  • playing host to scholars or potential lovers
  • visiting friends returned from far away
  • in perfect weather
  • when skies are overcast
  • watching boats glide past on the canal
  • midst trees and bamboo
  • when flowers bud and birds chatter
  • on hot days by a lotus pond
  • burning incense in the courtyard
  • after tipsy guests have gone out
  • on visits to secluded temples
  • when viewing springs and scenic rocks
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2 Comments

  1. DrSkippy27 says:

    This is a fantastic list! It is both very specific and not comprehensive. It is specific in scene, mood and the roles of the actors. You can smell it and hear it. Each item paints a great picture of context and feeling and makes it easy to know why and how each setting is a good “time” for tea drinking. Specific-but-not-comprehensive is life-like: particular, individual, specific, arbitrary, rich.

    This list is no way comprehensive in a reductive sense: it is not abstractly and conceptually unified, not averaged, not ordered, not sorted, not rated, not measured. It is random. And also, it is somehow whole, a real World through a tiny portal.

    And finally, it reminded me of the timeless classic Fold a banana, which my 12-year-old self still finds amusing.

  2. halshop says:

    dr. skippy,

    I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Your comment does, however, smack of being a sort of backhanded compliment in that it suggests my top 100 list is ordered, sorted, rated. ;->

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