The tea master serves fine sparkling art

Zhang Hongyan demonstrates the traditional tea-making technique of dian cha at the homestay she runs in Jingshan Village in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. [Photo/China Daily]

Heir to intangible cultural heritage teaches a technique rooted in tradition

Zhang Hongyan succeeded in perfecting the technique of making dian cha tea, which was once a ritual in the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

“Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, is the main host city for the upcoming Asian Games, and Jingshan Village is a tourist spot. As a villager here and a voluntary inheritor of intangible cultural heritage, I want to do something for the Games. Zhang, a famous local tea ceremony master, said.

The Games were scheduled to be held September 10-25 in Hangzhou, but were officially postponed on Friday. The new dates will be announced soon.

In an interview with China Daily, Zhang, 35, explained his artistic approach.

“First I use a tea whisk to make a thick layer of white foam on the tea, then I mix tea powder and water to make a suitable ‘pigment’,” he said. she stated.

“I make artistic drawings in the foam using a teaspoon as a brush and the foam as a drawing paper. I have drawn the mascots of the Congcong, Lianlian and Chenchen Games, as well as representations of competitions such as fencing , weightlifting and archery.

It is called chabaixi in Chinese, which is a unique and ancient art form that expresses calligraphy and painting with tea moss.

“The thickness of tea foam is very difficult to control. Too thick or too light foam will result in failure,” Zhang explained.

She said her goal is to bring the ancient ritual back to modern life and have more people appreciate its charm.

“I want to incorporate the elements of the Asian Games into the thousand-year-old style and culture of the Song Dynasty, so that more people can inherit and carry on traditional Chinese culture through the opportunities provided by the Games,” Zhang said.

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