Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Maybe I should give a few words about this subject: Taiwan has 17 cases of infection to this date. This number is quite low compared to 21 million inhabitants and it's not growing exponentially, but very slowly. Most people in the MRT and in stores are wearing face masks, which shows that they are all aware of this disease and are taking necessary steps to stop the spread (washing hands with soap when coming home...) This probably helps explain why the virus seems quite contained here. That's why life continues pretty much as usual, except that people try to avoid tourist spots that were popular with Chinese visitors (who aren't allowed in Taiwan anymore for the time being). But the Post Office is working normally and continues to deliver my teas and tea ware all around the world! There's no risk from my side, since I haven't purchased any tea or ware from China since the outbreak of the coronavirus. So, please continue to source your teas and Chaxi from Taiwan, the home of high mountain Oolong and where tea brewing was reinvented in the 1980s!
And since it's a little more tricky to visit Taiwan nowadays, let me show you some masterpieces from its best museum. It's on them that rests the inspiration and search for excellence of today's tea lovers!
Below is a second iconic masterpiece: the porcelain pillow in the shape of a recumbent child. It dates from the Northern Song to Jin dynasty (12th century). It's a Ding kiln white porcelain with a dark ivory hue. It seems very much alive with its stretched tongue and its little feet! And the flower patterns on its cloth are beautiful.
But the story behind these cups is even more interesting. These cups were gifts that emperor Chenghua gave to his favorite consort (wife): Lady Wan, Wan Gueifei. She was 17 years older than the emperor and had first taken care of him when he was a little child! She was like his nanny and they ended up in a romantic relationship, despite the age gap. That was quite a scandal at the court and this must have reinforced his resolve towards her. These chicken cups depicting a family of chicken are a symbol for the simple happiness he longed to enjoy with Lady Wan. Unfortunately, the one son she gave birth to died before 1 year old.
The ultimate tea ware collection of Chinese emperors if you make a 200 USD purchase on tea-masters.comhttps://www.tea-masters.com/en/ and you also get TeaMasters at the British Museum (since it's given with orders above 100 USD). And this also entitles you to my short story (Emperor Fei's Dream of Tea) and my Oolong Brewing Guide.