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The Book of Tea by Lu Yu and the Tea - Culture in the Tang Dynasty

The Book of Tea contains ten chapters. The first chapter deals with the origin of tea, the soil and climate suitable for its cultivation and its nature and functions. Chapters two and three cover the equipment for the processing of tea and the actual processing. Chapter Four looks at utensils for making and drinking tea; Chapter Five deals with making tea and the arts applicable to tea-making; Chapter Six explores the technique of drinking tea and standards of tea appreciation. Chapter Seven records the history of Chinese people's tea-drinking habits while Chapter Eight describes China's tea-producing areas and the qualities of different teas.Chapter Nine outlines the numbers of tea-related things to be use don different occasions and the final chapter details tea paintings and advocates using this vivid art form to introduce tea to tea drinkers.

The Book of Tea is not only a treatise on tea, but also are flective synthesis of natural and social sciences and the materialand ideological world. It creates an art of the process of drinking tea, including its baking, water selection, the display of tea sets and drinking, all of which are imbued with an aesthetic atmosphere.The book also accentuates the moral factor in the art of tea. Lu Yu held that people who loved drinking tea should excel in virtue. He made the golden mean of Confucianists, the perseverence of Buddhists in seeking truth and the Taoists theory that man is an integral part of nature all blend harmoniously in the process of drinking tea, allowing the drinker to attain mental purity in the aroma of tea. The Book of Tea is regarded as the authoritative summary of Chinese tea culture before the mid-Tang period. Later Tang thinkers continued to write works on tea culture, such as the Sixteen Varieties of Tea by Su Yi, which added new ideas to the art of tea, and the Comments on the. Waters for Making Tea by Zhang Youxin, which detailed the value of the water in the rivers, springs, pools and lakes of the whole country. Liu Zhenliang, a eunuch who had reached a high level of attainment in tea culture, even summarized the ten virtues of tea. However, these thinkers were only experts standing on the shoulders of Lu Yu, who pioneered tea culture and became the saint of tea in the eye of later generations.Late in the Tang Dynasty Lu Yu was posthumously called the God of Tea. In China gods did not come from Heaven, but were seen as the spirits of great people. Lu Yu, an eminent contributor to the culture of tea, was undoubtedly worthy of the title.