Friday, March 18, 2011

Section 20. About Tea Cups

"For tea cups, snow white is considered the best; pale celadon is next best because it does not harm the color of the tea."

Those who do not have a copy of Korean Tea Classics do please follow along and participate by referencing a different English translation available here from The Leaf.

This tea classic will be covered one section a week which will go on for 24 weeks. Feel free to jump in with your commentary at anytime.



Rebekah said...

Teacups open up a world of beautiful whites. "Snow white" is almost a set expression now, but sure Cho Ui meant his literally? Seeing the character for "snow" next to "white" also breaks away the cliché.

Cups of all styles and colors are beautiful; also delightful is clicking, chiming, and clinking through one's everyday teahouse cups, seeing which ones might be snow white.

Matt said...


You just encouraged one to look at the colours of the cups one has accumulated. It seems they are mostly white or, at least, off whites or light tones.

The darker cups seem like they can only be used once in a while, if a certain mood is desired.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


Matt said...


Notes on Section 20:

Colour is an indication of chaqi. Traditional thought posits that cups that conserve the true colour of tea contained also conserve the qi of that tea. Conversely, cups that degrade the true colour of tea were thought to subtly degrade the qi of the tea contained inside.

White and celadon ceramics were also very trendy at the time this piece was published. Confucian scholars thought them to embody the pure mind at which they strived to maintain.

See here:


Anonymous said...

Snow white is considered the best for tea cups in Section 20, the same way as "froth like white snow appearing in the cup is the sign of the tea's quality” in Section 12.
Second best tea cups are bluish-white (term used by The Leaf), the same way as “waves of bluish white are also a sign of fine tea” (though snowy white waves are still superior).

I personally also appreciate white porcelain as tea cups.