An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Chajing 茶經

Jun 17, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald
Chajing 茶經

Chajing 茶經 "Classic of Tea" is one of the most famous ancient Chinese books on tea. The 3 juan "scrolls" long book was written by the Tang period 唐 (618-907) scholar Lu Yu 陸羽 (733-804). Lu Yu never occupied a post in the government although he had been offered the position of Great Supplicator (taizhu 太祝) of the Office of Imperial Sacrifices (Taichangsi 太常寺). Instead, he lived a private life in a very rural style. Because of his deep knowledge of tea, he was also called the "god of tea" (chashen 茶神). In his book Chajing, he describes the origin and spread of the tea plant (Camellia sinensis), the shapes of the leaves of different kinds of tea plants, and the different qualities of tea; the harvest of leaves and different tools used for the preparation of tea leafs; as well as the method of tea fermenting. The second part is dedicated to the preparation of the beverage and the different tools to serve tea. In the last part, he narrates stories about fermenting, drinking, different matters around tea, places of origin, concise statements about tea types , and – very short – an outline of the book.
Inspite of its shortness, the Chajing is very reknowned for its beautiful and concise language. It is included in a lot of reprint series, like Baichuan xuehai 百川學海, Shuofu 說郛, Tang-Song congshu 唐宋叢書, Xuejin taoyuan 學津討原, Gezhi congshu 格致叢書, Bai mingjia shu 百名家書, Tangren shuohui 唐人說薈 and Siku quanshu 四庫全書. There are also several other prints from the Ming 明 (1368-1644) and Qing 清 (1644-1911) periods. The commentary and translation into modern Chinese made by Ouyang Xun 歐陽勛 is included in the Hubei xianzheng yishu 湖北先正遺書, published in 1983 by the Hubei renmin press 湖北人民出版社出.
There are a lot of translations of the Chajing into Western languages, for instance, Francis Ross Carpenter (1974), The Classic of Tea (Boston/Toronto: Little, Brown and Co.).

Table 1. Contents of the Chajing 茶經
茶之源 Cha zhi yuan Origins
茶之具 Cha zhi ju Rearing tools
茶之造 Cha zhi zao Production
茶之器 Cha zhi qi Production tools
茶之煮 Cha zhi zhu Fermentation
茶之飲 Cha zhi yin Drinking
茶之事 Cha zhi shi Affairs
茶之出 Cha zhi chu Regions
茶之略 Cha zhi lüe Omissions in process
茶之圖 Cha zhi tu Illustrations
Li Bingzhong 李秉忠, Wei Canjin 衛燦金, Lin Conglong 林從龍, eds. (1990). Jianming wenshi zhishi cidian 簡明文史知識詞典 (Xi’an: Shaanxi renmin chubanshe), 682.
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰 (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1860.
Lin Qitan 林其錟 (1994). "Chajing 茶經", in Zhou Gucheng 周谷城, ed. Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Vol. Jingji 經濟卷 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), 115.
Liang Guangcheng 梁廣成 (1990). "Chajing 茶經", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Nongye 農業 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 98.
Min Zongdian 閔宗殿 (1997). "Chajing 茶經", in Men Kui 門巋, Zhang Yanjin 張燕瑾, eds. Zhonghua guocui da cidian 中華國粹大辭典 (Xianggang: Guoji wenhua chuban gongsi), 339.
Nongye da cidian bianji weiyuanhui 《農業大詞典》 編輯委員會, ed. (1998). Nongye da cidian 農業大詞典 (Beijing: Zhongguo nongye chubanshe), 141.
Qiu Pangtong 邱龐同 (1995). "Chajing 茶經", in Zhongguo pengren baike quanshu 中國烹飪百科全書 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), 70.
Wang Guozhong 王國忠 (1996). "Chajing 茶經", in Zhou Gucheng 周谷城, ed. Zhongguo xueshu mingzhu tiyao 中國學術名著提要, Vol. Keji 科技卷 (Shanghai: Fudan daxue chubanshe), 390.
Wang Yuguang 王余光, Xu Yan 徐雁, eds. (1999). Zhongguo dushu da cidian 中國讀書大辭典 (Nanjing: Nanjing daxue chubanshe), 1178.
Wang Yuhu 王毓瑚, ed. (1964). Zhongguo nongxue shulu 中國農學書錄 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 41.
Wu Jianxin 吳建新 (1995). "Chajing 茶經", in Zhongguo nongye baike quanshu 中國農業百科全書, Vol. Nongye lishi 農業歷史卷 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 15.
Xu Hairong 徐海榮, ed. (2000). Zongguo chashi dadian 中國茶事大典 (Beijing: Huaxia chubanshe), 580.
Yu Yongqi 俞庸器 (1998). "Chajing 茶經", in Zhongguo nongye baike quanshu 中國農業百科全書, Vol. Chaye 茶業卷 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 23.
Zeng Hui 曾輝 (1993). "Chajing 茶經", in Ru Xin 汝信, ed. Shijie baike zhuzuo cidian 世界百科著作辭典 (Beijing: Zhongguo gongren chubanshe), 364.
Zeng Xiongsheng 曾雄生 (1994). "Chajing tiyao 茶經提要", in Ren Jiyu 任繼愈, ed. Zhongguo kexue jishu dianji tonghui 中國科學技術典籍通彙, part Nongxue 農學 (Zhengzhou: Henan jiaoyu chubanshe), Vol. 1, 169-170.

Bu chajing 補茶經

Bu chajing 補茶經, also called Chayuan zonglu 茶苑總錄, was a brief book on tea written by Zhou Jiang 周絳, courtesy name Ganchen 干臣, from Liyang 溧陽 in the prefecture of Changzhou 常州. Zhou lived for some time as a Daoist monk, but decided to return to worldly life. In 983, he obtained his jinshi degree and was appointed 太常博士. Later on he was made 都官員外郎知常州. Around 1010, he was prefect of Jianzhou 建州, and during that time compiled his book on tea.

The book was intended as a supplement to Lu Yu's 陸羽 famous Chajing 茶經 from the Tang period, particularly referring to tea in the region of River Jianxi 建溪 in what is today the province of Fujian (Jiancha 建茶). Only two sentences survive that are quoted in Wang Xiangzhi’s 王象之 Yudi jisheng 輿地紀勝, and Xiong Fan’s 熊蕃 Xuanhe beiyuan gongcha lu 宣和北苑貢茶錄, respectively. The book is only mentioned in the book catalogue Mishusheng xubian dao siku que shumu 秘書省續編到四庫闕書目. The biographical chapter in the Songshi 宋史藝文志 lists the book Bu shanjing 補山經, which is perhaps a clerical error for Bu chajing. There was once a commentary by Chen Gui 陳龜 on a book called Bu chajing. Whether this was on Zhou’s book or on another text, is not clear.

Xu Hairong 徐海榮, ed. (2000). Zhongguo chashi dadian 中國茶事大典 (Beijing: Huaxia chubanshe). 574.
Wang Yuhu 王毓瑚, ed. (1964). Zhongguo nongxue shulu 中國農學書錄 (Beijing: Nongye chubanshe), 64.
蜀漢 (221-263)