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Chinese Literature
Bieben chajing 別本茶經 "Another Version of the Classic on Tea"


The Bieben chajing 別本茶經 "Another version of the Classic on Tea" is a book on tea compiled by the Ming period 明 (1368-1644) scholar Tang Xianzu 湯顯祖 who is better known as the author of the theatre play Mudanting 牧丹停 and is also referred to with his style Yumingtang zhuren 玉茗堂主人 "Master of the Hall of Jade Tea". The Bieben chajing is a supplement to the famous Tang period 唐 (618-907) book Chajing 茶經 "Classic of Tea" by Lu Yu 陸羽. It constitutes the first of the three "scrolls" (juan) of Tang Xianzu's book. The second juan (Shuibian 水辨) deals with various waters used for cooking tea, and the third juan (Houji 後集) includes various information, like the generation conditions of growing tea, various qualities, areas of production, the preparation of water, and introduced some poems and prose texts on tea. The composition of the book is very heterogeneous and not well-balanced, and includes many errors. The name of the poet Huangfu Ran 皇甫冉, author of the poem Song Lu Hongjian shanren cai cha 送陸鴻漸山人採茶, is falsely written Huangfu Ceng 皇甫曾, and two quotations of the writings of Ouyang Xiu 歐陽修 are listed after such of Su Dongpo 蘇東坡 who lived later than Ouyang. A quotation from Shen Kuo's 沈括 Mengqi bitan 夢溪筆談 is arranged as if extracted from Zhang Youxin's 張又新 Jian shashui ji 煎茶水記, and some more. Most critically, the basic text of Lu Yu's Chajing is shortened in several passages. Some scholars are therefore convinced that Tang Xianzu was not the real author of the book. It was presented to the compilers of the imperial collectaneum Siku quanshu 四庫全書 by Ba Shigong 鮑士恭 from his private library, but was not included in this collection and is rarely to find elsewhere.

Source: Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典, vol. 2, p. 1862. Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe.
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

June 20, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail