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Did you know that by the 8th century, the practice of tea drinking was widely appreciated by Chinese scholars? Tea was thought to awaken the mind and inspire artistic pursuits, such as calligraphy or poetry. Some scholars even wrote poems about tea drinking! The verses below were composed by the Chinese poet Lu Tong (775-835), who wrote the Song of Tea to express his gratitude to a court official for a particularly large gift of rare tea: 

The first bowl moistens my lips and throat.
The second bowl banishes my loneliness and melancholy.
The third bowl penetrates my withered entrails,
finding nothing except a literary core of five thousand scrolls.
The fourth bowl raises a light perspiration,
casting life’s inequities out through my pores.
The fifth bowl purifies my flesh and bones.
The sixth bowl makes me one with the immortal, feathered spirits.
The seventh bowl I need not drink,
feeling only a pure wind rushing beneath my wings.

© Lu Tong Brewing Tea (Detail), Qian Xuan (ca. 1235-1307), National Palace Museum Taipei

Did you know that by the 8th century, the practice of tea drinking was widely appreciated by Chinese scholars? Tea was thought to awaken the mind and inspire artistic pursuits, such as calligraphy or poetry. Some scholars even wrote poems about tea drinking! The verses below were composed by the Chinese poet Lu Tong (775-835), who wrote 'the Song of Tea' to express his gratitude to a court official for a particularly large gift of rare tea:

"The first bowl moistens my lips and throat.
The second bowl banishes my loneliness and melancholy.
The third bowl penetrates my withered entrails,
finding nothing except a literary core of five thousand scrolls.
The fourth bowl raises a light perspiration,
casting life’s inequities out through my pores.
The fifth bowl purifies my flesh and bones.
The sixth bowl makes me one with the immortal, feathered spirits.
The seventh bowl I need not drink,
feeling only a pure wind rushing beneath my wings."

© 'Lu Tong Brewing Tea' (Detail), Qian Xuan (ca. 1235-1307), National Palace Museum Taipei
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