by Siyan and Patrick
We first tried Tibetan Yak Butter Tea while traveling to the town of Zhongdian 中甸, in Yunnan Province 云南, China. We immediately fell in love with both the tea and the town. At over 3000 meters above sea level, Zhongdian, known as Gyalthang or Gyaitang རྒྱལ་ཐང in Tibetan is a small traditional Tibetan town with homes made of wood, and where the random yak may wander down the cobble-stone streets that lead out to magnificent mountain vistas. No wonder the town was renamed Shangri-La 香格里拉 སེམས་ཀྱི་ཉི་ཟླ་གྲོང་ཁྱེར།. With its clean dry air, bright blue skies, soft green meadows and snow-capped mountains, it certainly seemed like paradise to us.
To many tea and traditional pottery lovers, Ruyao or Ru Kiln 汝窑 is a term that conjures images of a rich, jade like texture, pure and deep colour, and a smooth yet subtly crazed surface. Here is a simple introduction to one of China’s most celebrated ceramic arts, Ruyao.
Jingdezhen Porcelain and the name China
Every Chinese child learns that the country has been making porcelain ceramics as far back as the Tang Dynasty (AD 618 – 907), and that the small town of Jingdezhen 景德镇 has been the centre of this craft. While Chinese porcelain is also famous worldwide, few outside of China may know the importance of this town or have even heard its name.