CHANGE IN TIME/VENUE for China Seminar 7 December: James A. Benn

Please note: James A. Benn’s talk has been moved forward two hours: to 7 December (Thursday), 13.15-15.00. The new venue is LIPSIUS 308.

title: The Creation of a Tea Aesthetic in Tang Dynasty Verse

Abstract: The values associated with tea today— that it is natural, health- giving, detoxifying, spiritual, stimulating, refreshing, and so on— are not new concepts. We find them already in the poetry of the Tang dynasty (618-907). In tea poetry we can catch a glimpse of the cultural synergy created by literati, poets, and Buddhist monks gathering to share and construct new standards of connoisseurship and creativity, as well as to develop new themes and imagery. Surviving poems describe the color, aroma, and taste of the beverage; methods for preparing tea; the shape of teaware; settings for drinking tea; appreciation of the various aesthetic, medicinal, and psychoactive qualities of the beverage; as well as the world of tea growing, picking, and preparation.