Korean tea ceremony
The Korean tea ceremony (darye/ 다례/茶禮/etiquette or rite of tea) is the traditional mode of preparing and consuming tea in Korea.The Korean tea ceremony has been practiced and developed from the time camellia sinensis tea was introduced to the peninsula. These earlier forms of the tea ceremony were in the form of ritual offerings to deceased kings, gods, spirits, ancestors, and within the Buddhist religious context with offerings to the Buddha, bodhisattvas and eminent monks. With the rise of Confucianism and subsequently Neo-confucianism in Korea, Confucian philosophy and modes of proper ritual conduct began to influence the Korean tea ceremony more. The Korean tea ceremony places an emphasis on harmonizing naturalness, ease and relaxation along with formality, ritual, and interpersonal etiquette. The Korean tea ceremony, along with Korean tea and tea culture have been experiencing a revival in the modern era.
The preparation and consumption of herbal teas and tisanes in Korea are antiquated. However, the first historical evidence of camellia sinensis tea and its role in a ritual and ceremonial context can be traced to the year 661, during Korea’s Three Kingdoms period. This tea rite held in 661 was to commemorate the spirit of King Suro of Gaya. Gaya’s significance in the development of Korean tea and tea culture are also relayed in an additional, albeit semi-legendary account. The Record of Gaya claims that the semi-legendary queen Heo Hwang-Ok, originally a princess from Ayodhya in India, introduced the camellia sinensis var. assamica to Korea. It was claim that the tea plant ontroduced by queen Heo was planted on Baegwol mountain situated near the city of Changwon. Some time after this period, Buddhist monks from China began transmitting both the Buddhist religion and Chinese tea culture to the Korean peninsula. Other transmissions and developments in the evolution of early Korean tea culture and the tea ceremony occurred during the Silla dynasty. During the reign of Queen Seondeok of Silla, when two varieties of tea bricks were imported into Korea from Tang China. Tang China’s interactions with Silla helped to introduce and inform Korean Buddhist tea ceremonies. Tea and tea culture in Korea continued to flourish during the Goryeo dynasty (918 CE-1392 CE). During national and public rituals, tea ceremonies formed part of the ritual customs. By 1200’s CE the Korean tea ceremony became heavily influenced by Korean Seon (Chan) Buddhism. The scholar-bureaucrats of the Goryeo era also left an impression on the Korean tea ceremony. Various arts developed around t tea drinking including tea poetry (dasi/다시/茶詩) and special tea meetings (dahoe/다회/茶會). A special department was created for overseeing tea drinking and rites during the Goryeo dynasty known as the Tabang which continued intoi the reign of the incumbent Joseon dynasty. Initially during the Joseon period which reigned from 1392 until 1910, tea drinking among the common and lower classes and in the ritual and religious context continued. The ruling Yi clan even observed a “Day Tea Rite” which was a simple daytime ritual as well as a “Special Tea Rite” which was more elaborate and practiced only for particular occasions. In
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