TV drama puts spotlight on ancient tea art


A poster of TV drama  A Dream of Splendor. [Photo/Official Weibo account of A Dream of Splendor]

A Dream of Splendor, a 40-episode TV drama streaming on Tencent Video platform, has become a smash hit recently. It narrates a story about a woman running a teahouse with her two friends who were rescued from family tortures in the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

Centering on tea, the series features China's traditional tea acrobatics, which is also one of the intangible cultural heritage items in China. The heroine demonstrates dazzling skills of pouring tea and creating beautiful patterns on the surface of a cup of tea in some scenes.


A tea artist shows dian cha. [Photo/IC]

Chinese tea culture has witnessed a long history. Starting from the Tang Dynasty (618-907), it flourished throughout the Song Dynasty, when the popular way of having tea became dian cha - a kind of tea art.

It is an exquisite technique that starts from pouring hot water over fine powdered tea to make it mushy. Then more hot water is added slowly while the tea is constantly stirred by hand with a bamboo stick to create froth, which can be used to draw patterns on the surface of it. This action of pouring hot water is called dian, giving this art the name dian cha, while the art of using water to draw on the tea is called chabaixi.


A chabaixi work created by Zhang Zhifeng, an inheritor of Chinese tea art, who uses tea powder to draw patterns on water. [Photo provided to]

This old ritual not only makes drinking tea more enjoyable, but also enhances the taste of it. It's common to see coffee art in modern society, but tea art is relatively little-known. This popular TV series brings this intangible cultural heritage to more audiences, and spreads traditional Chinese tea culture.

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