Friday, March 25, 2011

Section 21. About the Wiping Cloth


"Before and after drinking tea, one should use a cloth made of fine hemp or jute to wipe the cups. Other kinds of cloth are unsuitable because they are easily soiled."


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.

Peace

9 comments:

AdamMY said...

One of the hardest things to find has been to find a high quality tea cloth. I have been using cloths included with orders from certain vendors, but they get dirty so quickly and are quite hard to get them to look clean again.

Matt said...

Adam,

It is always hard to keep them clean. There is an ancient secret that the teamasters of Korea use to keep their white hemp tea cloths clean... OxiClean (then many, many rinses to remove the harsh chemicals). Hahahaha...

What material are your tea cloths made of?

Peace

AdamMY said...

I am unsure I think a few are cotton and a few are a cotton and Polyester blend, but mind you they were included with orders of Japanese teaware as what I have explained to me as a little bit of a Japanese custom to typically include a little gift with orders.

Matt said...

Adam,

Cotton doesn't hide soiled/ dirtied areas as good as the more coarse natural fibers of hemp and jute. The course nature of these fibers also involve more tactile sensations while preparing the tea.

The Japanese use cotton/hemp blend, hemp, and silk for tea cloths. There are probably some synthetic blends as well. Of course, natural fibers are better as they maintain the natural feel of the tea setup.

Check this link out:

http://www.yuuki-cha.com/matcha-accessories/tea-cloths

Peace

Rebekah said...

LOL, and suppressing the urge to make bad puns....For general wiping up I use those ubiquitous, tea-colored, maybe-hemp clothes from China, for drying after teaware is rinsed, cotton. How badly would green tea stain white?

Cleanliness is a virtue, but I always wear red when making spaghetti sauce.

Matt said...

Rebekah,

"LOL, and suppressing the urge to make bad puns"

Don't follow you with this one.

"Cleanliness is a virtue, but I always wear red when making spaghetti sauce."

And one occasionally wears natural tea dyed traditional clothing to prepare tea (seriously)... Now that's being in harmony with your tea!

Hahaha...

Peace

Gingko said...

I've never used a wiping cloth for teacups. I left them dry on a bamboo mat (and the wooden table under the mat is one I don't mind ruining with dampness). But I have to admit I often make a mess with tea water dripping on my desk, and I got rust on my metal cha-takus :-p
If I use a wiping cloth in the future, I have similar mind set as Rebekah, and will find some dark coffee colored ones :D

Matt said...

Gingko,

One has frequently seen tea cups dried on a wood rack as well. The rack is quite simple with two or three levels.

Peace

Matt said...

All,

Notes on section 21:

Just wanted to add, that another reason hemp or jute is preferred is because it is not an overly extravagant textile. In this way it also bestows practicality, modesty and propriety, traits valued by Buddhists and Confucianists alike.

Peace