Sunday, April 17, 2011

China National Tea Museum

Located in Hangzhou, Fujian Province, the China National Tea Museum is an incredible place. I've been there a few times and evertime I can't help but drool at their collection of antique tea ware. The China National Tea Museum is the only national tea museum in China. The museum is two storey's tall and consists of many rooms which show the varieties, history, and culture of Chinese tea. The museum's displays are in English and Chinese and are well set up.

The area surrounding the museum is filled with tea pavilions and plantings. It looks like a large park surrounding the museum. After entering the gate, you drive down a little road through tea fields. In the distance you can see the mountains covered with tea trees. The entrance to the museum is surrounded by manicured plants and ponds filled with koi fish. Once inside, you are greeted with a 10 meter high waterfall made of stone with the Chinese character for tea carved in it. The first section of the museum shows the history of tea, from its prehistoric beginnings up until today. This area is filled with antiques and even has some tea seed fossils. I am pretty jealous of that! The second section shows the six types of teas, their different varieties and production areas. The third part shows the processing techniques of different teas and has some examples of tea producing equipment. The last section, and my favorite displays antique tea ware. It is an incredible collection and thousands of years of tea ware are exhibited there. Sadly, none of it is for sale. I asked. Haha. after that, there are a few full size duplicates of tea houses from around China. That area is interesting, but could be much more so if they actually used them to give people tea. The museum also has a shop, with a lot of books and, as you can imagine, I kind of go overboard in there.

The grounds are really incredible. They are beautifully manicured

with paths lined with antique pillar bases from old homes and there are tea pavilions scattered around. Also located on the grounds is the International Tea Culture Exchange Center of China. I snuck in and it has lots of meeting rooms and offices. I need to learn more about that place. Also located on the grounds was a statue of Luyu, the godfather of Chinese tea. He is holding a cup of tea and he looks so incredibly happy. It must have been some tea.

I don't know if everyone would find the museum interesting, and I do feel that they could do more and update it a bit, but all in all, I love the place very much. I never miss it when I go to Hangzhou.

For more photos, check our my Flickr Photo Album:

1 comment:

Chad said...

There are fewer places as lovely or as interesting in all of China. Well, that's probably an exaggeration, but I can still spend all day in that lovely museum.