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Current exhibition

Permanent Exhibition
Tea Culture in East Asia
Tea appreciation is a lifestyle, a fashion, an art, and a culture.
Tea originates in China. In ancient times, it was used both for quenching the thirst and for its medical effects. Tea was once prepared by boiling in the Tang dynasty and whisking in the Song dynasty, while later on it was made by steeping tea leaves in hot water from the Ming dynasty to this day. As methods of tea making evolve over centuries, tea set formats and how people enjoy tea have changed as well. In the meantime, through the introduction of envoys and traders, tea consumption became a part of everyday life in Mongolia and Tibet too. Nomads also developed their own tea equipment and culture.
During the Tang and Song dynasties, Japanese diplomats, student monks, and merchants brought tea back to Japan. The integration with local cultural essence and etiquette gave rise to sadō, a meticulous form of tea ceremony. In the late Ming dynasty, monks from Fujian introduced Fujian-style tea brewing and Yixing tea ware to Japan. The combination of tea drinking and scholarly conversation soon became popular among intellectuals and developed into tea ceremony known as senchadō.
Immigrants from China to Taiwan during the late Ming and the early Qing dynasties brought tea culture with them. Today, Taiwanese society not only preserves the tradition of the gongfu tea ceremony from Fujian and Guangdong but has elevated it to the realm of art.
In such historical context, this exhibition is divided into four sections: "Chinese Tea Culture," " Japanese Tea Culture," "Milk Tea of Mongolia and Tibet," and "Taiwanese Gongfu Tea," each showcasing related artifacts from the museum collection. Situational displays, such as the rooms for tea drinking in the Ming dynasty and Japanese tea ceremony, or a table of Taiwanese modern tea practice, are intended to convey the artistic atmosphere of tea appreciation and to present the diversity of tea culture in various areas.
Exhibition Information
  • Event Date Permanent Exhibition
  • Location 2F S202
Changsha ware, Tang dynasty (618-907)
Green glazed single handled pot
  • Ht (including lid): 18.5 cm, mouth: 4.9 cm, base: 7.4 cm
Pots with horizontal handles were popular during the late Tang dynasty. Ewers of this type are found in both Yue ware (from Zhejiang) and Changsha ware (from Hunan). The Changsha kiln produced many types of everyday tea ceramics such as ewers, tea jars, tea bowls, and tea powder caddies; from this it can be clearly seen that tea drinking was popular in Hunan at the time. Pots with horizontal handles were used to pour boiling water into teacups, in order to make whisked tea.
Jizhou ware, Song dynasty (960-1279)
Black glazed tea bowl with leaf pattern
  • Ht: 6.8 cm, mouth: 11.0 cm, base: 8.2 cm
Li-shaped tea bowl glazed in black with a copper inlaid rim. The interior of the bowl is decorated with leaf patterns, thought to be mulberry. These can be related to the tea ceremony of the Baizhang Zen temple in Jiangxi.
Ming dynasty, Xuande reign (1426-1435)
Ruby red glaze teacup and stand
  • Cup: Ht: 5.2 cm, mouth: 10.2 cm, base: 4.3 cm Stand: Ht: 1.2cm, mouth: 6.8cm, base: 11.3cm
The cup is a typical teacup with flared rim. It is glazed in red except for the foot. There are white bands around the rim and the base. The Qianlong Emperor loved this teacup so much that he picked a Neolithic yellow jade bi to be used with it as a cup stand. The jade bi is incised with a poem written by the emperor in 1769. The emperor had a passion for creatively combining ancient and modern objects in this way, something tea connoisseurs continue to do today.
Early 20 century
Tea ware cabinet in red clay body with shili mark
  • L: 38.4cm W: 17.1cm H: 55.4cm
This tea ware cabinet in red clay body was a unique feature of the Chaoshan gongfu tea drinking culture. In Chaoshan it was called a chadan. It was made of low-fired pottery, and would have been used to store and display all kinds of tea wares.

Although the chadan would come in different sizes, they would be designed to accommodate similar kinds of items.

In his book Gongfu Cha, the late Qing/ early Republican period writer Weng Hui-dong (1885-1965) lists 18 types of tea wares, including the tea pot, the tea bowl and the tea cup, and the final item on his list is the chadan tea ware cabinet. It does seem, then, that the chadan was very common in the Chaoshan area.