About Careers Internship MedBlog Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Wine and Tea: Relatives After All?

by Kathy Jones on May 29, 2014 at 6:05 PM
 Wine and Tea: Relatives After All?

A newly opened exhibition in Beijing suggests that wine and tea are not such remote relatives in their rituals and cultivation.

They are both symbols of conviviality and lifestyle, have been consumed for thousands of years, and come from "trees of life" -- the bush and the vine -- that have been revered and mythologised in different cultures for millennia.

Advertisement

"Tea was a medicine at first and it was saved by Buddhism. And the wine of antiquity would have disappeared if it wasn't for Christianity," said Jean-Paul Desroches, curator of the "Tea and Wine: A Shared Passion" exhibition at the Yishu 8 gallery, on the site of Beijing's former Sino-French University.

He based the exhibition on a long-forgotten Tang dynasty Chinese text, the Chajiulun or "dialogue of tea and wine".

Written in ink brush more than 1,000 years ago by a certain Wang Fu, it was among the manuscripts discovered in the early 20th century in the caves of Dunhuang, long a stop on the Silk Road.
Advertisement

Four copies are preserved at the France's national library, and two in the British Library.

Wang Fu imagined a conversation between tea and wine, each drink boasting of its merits and mocking the other, until a third beverage joins in.

Water tells them that all living things need it, and without it, they would be nothing, ending the argument.

- 'Totally parallel history' -

It is an "ancient Chinese contest", explains Desroches, between "wine, which was supported by scholars and was a symbol of intoxication, including poetic intoxication, and tea, which was supported by the Buddhists and was a symbol of serenity".

"Tea and wine have a totally parallel history," he says.

"The main tools of tea are bowls, and they only exist through an art form that uses fire, ceramics. Wine needs tools of its own to be savoured and they only exist through an art form that uses fire, glass or crystal."

Teas come in multiple colours -- red, green, yellow, black, white -- as do wines, and the characteristics of a vineyard are as essential to the taste of a wine as those of a garden to tea.

Similarly connoisseurs deploy a language of fruits, tannins, and finishes when they compare different varieties. And just as white wine is generally drunk earlier than a red, green tea is consumed earlier than fermented tea.

Wine, though, came of age around the eastern Mediterranean, while southern China claims to be the birthplace of tea.

There, in Yunnan province, Li Minguo grows puer, one of the "grand crus" of tea.

A culture as rich as those surrounding wine in Europe has grown up in the mountains abutting the Mekong basin, she says.

"Good wine and good puer tea both need a special environment, rich in biodiversity," she says.

"And when quality is part of the mix, they can be preserved, aged and classed according to their vintages. In that they are very similar," she says.

"Puer tea can also be compared to wine in that it grows on large trees. Their roots are very deep and their branches very old."

As with great Bordeaux of exceptional vintages, the price of old puer tea rises with time and has soared at auctions in China.

Wine in France and tea in China "both have 2,000 years of history", said Sophie Kessler, who runs the Chateau Calissanne in the hills of Aix-en-Provence in France and came to Beijing to promote it.

Among the artefacts at the exhibition, which opened earlier this month, is a ceramic pillow dating back to the Northern Song dynasty of 960-1127.

It bears the inscription: "Nothing beats wine for dispelling fear, but a drink of tea will make your mind clear."

Source: AFP
Font : A-A+

Advertisement

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended Readings

Latest Lifestyle and Wellness News

Work Breaks - Need of the Hour to Counteract Prolonged Sitting
Prolonged sitting among office goers, pose risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension, and certain types of cancers.
Fear of Garlic Bad Breath? Try Deodorizing Effect of Yogurt
Yogurt's protein and fat content demonstrated its unidentified deodorizing properties against garlic's pungent odor.
Smoking Tobacco and Cannabis Tied to Depression Risk
People who smoke tobacco and cannabis have an increased risk of depression and anxiety than those who use either substance alone or not at all.
Prevent Cognitive Decline in High-Activity Jobs
Research reveals the association between cognitive impairment and physically demanding careers, emphasizing the need for preventative strategies.
Physical Activity's Importance in Combating Sedentary Lifestyle
Excessive and protracted sedentary mode of life can result in cardiovascular problems, loss of muscle mass, increased body fat, and more.
View All
This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close
MediBotMediBot
Greetings! How can I assist you?MediBot
×

Wine and Tea: Relatives After All? Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests