1.Handling the Teapot
The Eight Teachings of the TAETEA System features delicate, graceful and elegant tea ware handling techniques. For instance, when setting down a utensil, the teaist should display a feeling of reluctance to part with it and leave the guest an impression of elegance, subtlety, and profundity. Before learning the guest Teachings, the teaist needs to master some standard and basic techniques, first and foremost being teapot handling.
a) Teapot with Closed Handle on the Side
Big teapot: Hold the pot handle with the right hand while pressing the lid knob down with the index and middle fingers of the left hand. Medium-sized teapot: Hold the pot handle firmly with the right thumb, index and middle fingers, buttress the right ring and little fingers against the handle, and press down the cover lid with the left index and middle fingers. Small teapot: Use the right hand to hold the handle of the teapot with the thumb and middle finger, support it with the ring and little finger and secure the lid by pressing it down with the forefinger (see picture on lower left).
b) Wing teapot
Press the right thumb against the knob on the lid while clasping the teapot handle with the other four right fingers.
c) Top handle teapot
Hold the top handle with right hand (or grip the handle with the thumb, forefinger and middle finger) while pressing the lid knob with the left forefinger and middle finger (see picture on lower right).
2.Handling the Tea Cups/Bowls
a) Smelling cup
Hold the smelling cup in the right palm, or hold it with both hands.
b) Drinking cup
Cup without handle: Hold the cup with the right thumb and forefinger on either side, use the middle finger to prop up the bottom and let the ring and small fingers bend naturally so that the would resemble “three dragons holding up a ding (tripod)”. Cup with handle: Grab the handle with the right thumbs index finger and middle finger.
c) Bowl with cover
A tea bowl with cover comes with a lid, a bowl and a saucer, hence the name “three-piece bow” or “three-piece cup.” When holding the “three-piece bowl,” first use the thumbs and forefingers to support the edges on both sides, move the lid to the chest, stretch out the rest four left fingers to the bottom of the saucer and hold it together with the thumb. Grab the knob of the lid with the right thumb, forefinger and middle finger and let tile ring and small finger to curve up naturally. When setting it back down on the table, support the edges on both sides with both hands in the aforementioned manner.
3.Warming Up the Tea Wares
a) Warming up the Teapot
a-1.Grab the lid of the teapot knob with the thumb, forefinger and middle finger of the left hand, ,take it off, and put it back on the tray.
a-2. Grab a kettle of boiled water in the right hand, pour the water on the teapot, rinse the exterior at close range counter-clockwise. Raise kettle higher and let the water current flow into the teapot from on high. When the teapot is half full, lower the water kettle again and let the water current taper off. Put the kettle down gently when done.
a-3. Take a towel with both hands, place it on the left finger, pick up the teapot with the right hand, hold the towel in the left hand against the bottom of the teapot, use the right wrist to move the teapot counterclockwise so that the boiled water would swirl and warm up all areas of the interior
a-4. Pour the water out into the tea washer.
b) Warming up the tea cup
b-1. Pick up the water kettle with the right hand and pour boiled water counterclockwise down the inner wall of the cup, stop and put the kettle gently away when the water level reaches one third of the cup’s capacity.
b-2. Hold the upper part of the tea with the right thumb and forefinger, let the middle finger, ring finger and little finger curl outward naturally. Hold the left forefinger gently against the bottom of the tea cup, use the right wrist to rotate the tea cup counterclockwise and let the water circle around in the cup once, without spilling at all.
b-3. Empty the water into the tea washer.
c) Warming up the tea bowl with lid
c-1. Grip the knob of the lid with the left thumb, middle finger, and forefinger, flip it over and put it on top of the bowl, leaving an opening between the lid and the bowl Grip the water kettle in the right hand, pour boiled water onto the lid and bowl counterclockwise, stop and put the water kettle back when the water level reaches one third of the bowl’s capacity.
c-2. Take a tea spoon in the right hand, insert it into the opening between the bowl and the lid, flip up the lid with the tea spoon in the right hand, grip the lid with the left thumb, forefinger and middle filler, cover the bowl again and put the tea spoon back.
c-3. Hold the bowl with the right thumb and middle finger, press the forefinger on the lid knob, hold up the bottom of the bowl with the left hand and raise the bowl up. Rotate the bowl with the right wrist so that the hot water may swirl counterclockwise and warm up the bowl.
c-4. Put bowl down, grab the lid knob with the right thumb, index finger and middle finger, and slide the lid to the right to leave a fissure at the left rim of the bowl. Next, as mentioned earlier, hold the bowl with the right thumb and the middle finger, press the index finger against the lid knob, raise the bowl above the tea washer and drain die water out of the fissure completely.