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Tea in ChinaA Religious and Cultural History$
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James A. Benn

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824839635

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824839635.001.0001

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The Early History of Tea

The Early History of Tea

Myth and Reality

(p.21) 2 The Early History of Tea
Tea in China

James A. Benn

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter discusses claims for the great antiquity of tea drinking in China found in medieval sources such as the Classic of Tea (Cha jing). It analyses the mythology of the discovery of tea by the culture hero Shennong, the Divine Husbandman (traditional reign dates 2737–2697 B.C.E.) and evaluates the surviving evidence for early tea drinking. It discusses the different terminology used for the tea plant prior to the Tang dynasty.

Keywords:   tea, mythology, China, history, commodities, Shennong, Lu Yu, Classic of Tea, Cha jing, agriculture, technology, materia medica

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