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Tea-Drinking Customs and Teawares in Liao Dynasty

We can know about the tea-drinking customs and teawares in Liao Dynasty from the grave chambers' fresco paintings at Xuanhua Period (155-1-155-7)

According to the grave chambers, fresco paintings at Xuanhua Period, there were six tomb chambers' fresco had painting of Getting Tea. A children playing on the tomb fresco of Zhang Wenzao, but it painted the environment of getting tea, tea package was completely ready, maybe children gone, and they began to get ready for tea.

The time of these seven tombs was Da'an Nine years of Liao Dynasty(1093) to Tianqing next 7 years (1116), spaned for 24 years, was the end of Liao Dynasty. This period was started from Yuanyou next 8 year to Zhenghe next 7 year in Northern Song Dynasty, after this year, the Northern Song Dynasty ended its domination.

Due to the record of books. before-mentioned tombs were The Zhangs and The Hans family cemetery of late-Liao Dynasty. These seven persons, Zhang Kuangzheng the highest generational Zhang Shiqing got the highest position, his grandson married with royal family in to explain the special relationship between the Zhangs and Royal family of Yelu, Han Shixun was a merchants his social class couldn't compare with the royal family naturally.

The picture recited the conditions of people who lived in the north were living under the rule of the Khitan and Liao Country, at the end of Northern Song Dynasty.

We saw the paintings in the tomb's fresco, what they used didn't have so many differences with the vessels used by Zhongyuan people. Three tombs of Zhang Kuangzheng, Zhang ??, Zhang Wenzao were earlier relatively, the teawares were basically same as paitings, proved that the tea-drinking customs of late-Tang Dynasty and Five Dynasties were kept this kind of fashion more or less.

The teawares painted on the frescos in Zhang Shiqing, Zhang Shigu, Zhang Gongyou's tombs were basically same, but compared to the before-mentioned tea vessels were less and no grind even the furnace. The vase were put into the charcoal basins, in order to avoid using of wind furnace, Maybe there were some other reasons.

The scene in the fresco of Han Shixun's tomb was the most simple, teaware just included tea kettle, tea cup, cup-tray, but the table which put the teawares in the painting was so different with others, desktop with red column and the upright posts setting between the fences, lots of teawares were pitting on it, seemed like a special table for putting teawares.

Compared these seven before-mentioned paintings, the most teawares were: tea bowls, cup-trays, tea kettles, tea furnaces, tea press, pots.

Tea bowls, for white porcelain Chinese tea cup, a few difference on shape.

Cup-trays, two kind of white porcelain and lacquerwork.

Tea kettles, white porcelain, high neck and short flow-mouth, metal melon multi-prismatic shape(fresco of Zhang Shigu's tomb)

Tea furnaces, wind furnace, charcoal basin;

Tea press, a few difference in three vessels;

Pots, white porcelain and yellow glaze porcelain.

Seeing from the paintings, grinding tea, boiling, liandling with vase, cup-tray were used for Dim Cha methods as same as Zhongyuan people.

(156) Yellow glaze lees furnace, Liao dynasty. Height 11.4cm, caliber 18.8cm, bottom diameter 6.1cm, collected by Palace Museum of China.

Pipe socket mouth, round belly and feet No pattern on it Put the white engobe on the paste at first, glazing the yellow glaze, the outside of glaze ending at middle of belly, and downside was casual work, unglazed belly shou the crude and liard paste. The glaze under the lip rim was thick, some tiny pots inside of glaze show the natual, rude and simplicity.

(157) Green glaze scarved pattern handle vase, Liao Dynasty. Height 14cm, caliber 4.5cm, bottom diameter 7.5cm, collected by Palace Museum of China.

Small and convergent mouth, plump shoulder, a little convergent underbelly. A diamond-shaped short flow mouth on one side of shoulder, double lines circle ties setting on the other side, One bamboo-shaped horizontal handle putting between the flou-mouth and ties, there was a convex button on the top of handle. There were two convex circles on the shoulder, eight scries of fan-shaped decorations between the raised line design, Four melon multi-prismatic shape belly, many fan-shaped pattern bestrewed the ware. Due to this shape, it should be the early work of Liao Dynasty, but similar vessels in Ou kilns, Changsha kilns of Tang Dynasty,

This kind of vase called "Jixu". The litterateur Huang Shang in Northern Song Dynasty who was Yinping in Fujian Province, he mentioned in his poem of "Yau Shan" When the water enters heated frit jar, the steam will make an enormous thunder like sound. so this tea is also called Thunder-sound Tea". "Jixu, the southeast vessels." We could know that from Song Dynasty, Jixu was used by boiling tea in Shantou of Guangdong Province and south of Fujian Province, until Ming Dynasty, The boiling tea method was passed by Yinyuan monk to Japan in Ming Dynasty who lived in the Wanfu Temple in Huangchai Mountain of Fujian Province, since now Japan also called the boiling teapot as "Jixu", the shape was just like this handle vase. It is said that until now, the people called "Jixu" who lived in some place of Fujian Province.

(158) Yellow glaze long neck vase, Liao Dynasty. Height 36cm, caliber 3.5cm, bottom diameter 8.5cm, collected by Palace Museum of China.

Straight mouth, thin long neck, smooth shoulder, round belly and feet. Many raised line design on the shoulder, neck, feet. A eight melon multi-prismatic shape and long curl flow-mouth set on one side of the shoulder, a compressive linear shape curl handle which connected the neck and shoulder Yellow glaze all over the ware, it was shining and beauty.

This vessel had a special characteristic modelling, looked like the boiling vase which painted in the fresco of Liao's tombs, it is a much more difference with Zhongyuan's vases.

They did not produce tea in Liao Dynasty and always got tea from trade and gifts with Song Dynasty. The noble of Khitan liked tea very much, they drank soup first and tea behind with guest, so it was different custom with Han, tea-drinking was also dainty. They did use the tea-cake, especially the small tea cake, if not, they did not use it. Since they drunk the Zhongyuan's tea, it that way what Zbongyuan people use as also about?