The True History of Tea

Front Cover
Thames & Hudson, Mar 24, 2009 - Cooking - 280 pages

A lively and beautifully illustrated history of one of the world's favorite beverages and its uses through the ages.

World-renowned sinologist Victor H. Mair teams up with journalist Erling Hoh to tell the story of this remarkable beverage and its uses, from ancient times to the present, from East to West.

For the first time in a popular history of tea, the Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, and Mongolian annals have been thoroughly consulted and carefully sifted. The resulting narrative takes the reader from the jungles of Southeast Asia to the splendor of the Tang and Song Dynasties, from the tea ceremony politics of medieval Japan to the fabled tea and horse trade of Central Asia and the arrival of the first European vessels in Far Eastern waters.

Through the centuries, tea has inspired artists, enhanced religious experience, played a pivotal role in the emergence of world trade, and triggered cataclysmic events that altered the course of humankind. How did green tea become the national beverage of Morocco? And who was the beautiful Emma Hart, immortalized by George Romney in his painting The Tea-maker of Edgware Road? No other drink has touched the daily lives of so many people in so many different ways.

The True History of Tea brings these disparate aspects together in an entertaining tale that combines solid scholarship with an eye for the quirky, offbeat paths that tea has strayed upon during its long voyage. It celebrates the common heritage of a beverage we have all come to love, and plays a crucial part in the work of dismantling that obsolete dictum: East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet.
 

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User Review  - nillacat - LibraryThing

Did he not say otherwise in the acknowledgements, I would have suspected that Professor Mair wrote this book as an excuse to write Appendix C on the origins of the words for Tea in the worlds ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kukulaj - LibraryThing

An excellent survey of tea, its preparation, etc. over the last two millennia. It's like a narrative encyclopedia. There is a lot of information here. It's strung together rather loosely, but well ... Read full review

Contents

LEAF OF AWARENESS
THE HEARTSTRINGS OF NATIONAL PRIDE
GO HAVE SOME TEA
CLOUDY FEET IN A HARES FUR
BUYING PEACE WITH THE CELESTIAL BEVERAGE
SEN RIKYŪ THE TEA MASTER
HAN XIN COUNTS THE SOLDIERS
HOW THE DALAI LAMA GOT HIS NAME
THE PROGRESS OF THIS FAMOUS PLANT
A MASTER TEAPOT MAKERS MIDNIGHT RIDE
THE HEYDAY OF THE CLIPPER SHIPS
VIGNETTES FROM THE GLOBAL VILLAGE
APPENDIX
Acknowledgments
Index
Copyright

CONQUERING NEW LANDS

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About the author (2009)

Erling Hoh has been a correspondent for Archaeology and written on Chinese history and culture for Natural History and others.

Victor H. Mair is Professor of Chinese Language and Literature at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of many books including The True History of Tea and The Tarim Mummies.

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