Thursday, March 06, 2014

Poetry in tea and garden..#hongkong


Imagine a fragrance that 
"blends with the flavour of evening rain"
or 
"like music from lofty terraces far away"

I visited  the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware in Hong Kong last week
 and fell in love with 12 delicate cups in wucai enamel
representing the "Flowers of the Month".
Marks and period of Kangxi (1662-1722), Qing dynasty.
I was spellbound.


Under each tea cup is an inscription,
 a poem, representing the flower on the cup.

First month: Wintersweet trees
The golden blossoms and verdant calyxes bear the chill of spring.
How many shades of yellow can be found among these flowers?

Second month: Crabapple tree
The fragrance blends with the flavour of evening rain.
The beautiful colour stands out in clear weather like in mist.

Third month: Peach tree
When the blossoms sway in the breeze, the swallow returns.
This is the time late in spring, when the farmer goes back to his fields.

Fourth month: Peonies
At dawn its beauty receives dew from a golden palm.
In the evening the fragrance penetrates deep into Jade Hall.

Fifth month: Pomegranate tree
The colour unfolds like the sun on pearl curtains.
The breeze bears the fragrance in the shade of the white-washed wall.

Sixth month: Lotus flowers
The roots are like jade gleaming in the mud.
The hearts contain pearls when dew has descended.

Seventh month: Orchids
The delicate fragrance pervades the spacious hall.
Like music from lofty terraces far away.

Eight month: Cassia tree
The branches are growing for months without end.
Once they are laden with blossoms, autumn has surely arrived.

Ninth month: Chrysanthemum
A thousand fills of wide drunk in a plain white robe.
Throughout the whole life fragrant like a young woman.

Tenth month: Rose
Unlike a thousand other species that tire out,
This one alone blazes in red throughout the year.

Eleventh month: Prunus tree
Simple beauty like a tree frozen with snow.
Branches moving in the wind full of clear fragrance.

Twelfth month: Narcissus
The spring breeze plays with these gems when daylight arrives.
When the moon traverses at night, it sends ripples up the long dike.

If you could find one of the original sets,
dating back to the Qing dynasty,
you would need about US$2.5 million to purchase it.
My research turned up:
two sets in The Palace Museum, Beijing
one set in the Sir Percival David Collection
at the British Museum, London
one set in the Idemitsu Museum of Art, Tokyo
and one set in the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong
I am not even sure if what I saw was the real deal..but
the notion of a poem in a cup is beautiful.

I am curious...
do you have a favourite month/flower
 from one of the above?
Would love to know.

No surprise as to what mine is:

Sixth month: Lotus flowers
The roots are like jade gleaming in the mud.
The hearts contain pearls when dew has descended.


Lotus flower...Chateau Mango

Before I go...a note on tea.
If you love green tea as I do..
I encourage you to try
Tea Forte Jasmine Green
Hot or iced..it is heaven in a cup.
I am serenely addicted! 





Your favourite flower/poem from above?
Favourite tea?
I would love to read it all!

You can write to me jeannecollageoflife@gmail 
if it is easier than leaving a comment.

Have a wonderful day!

27 comments:

  1. The Lotus cup lifts my spirit the best because of the jade, mud, pearl, and dew images.
    I loved playing in mud when I was a kid.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good Morning Vietnam oops I mean Jeanne

    The poetry on those cups made my heart skip a beat and resurrected all types of beautiful memories.
    Following much deliberation I pick ..
    Third month: Peach tree
    When the blossoms sway in the breeze, the swallow returns.
    This is the time late in spring, when the farmer goes back to his fields.

    What is the social media abbreviation for "Tears Out Loud"

    Are there reproductions of these tea cups?

    I will search for Jasmine Green tea.

    Have a wonderful weekend
    Helen xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Helen, beautiful choice. I understand they still make sets like this, for a more reasonable price. I will seek it out on my next trip to Hong Kong. #TOL Love it! xx

      Delete
  3. Since you have claimed the Sixth Month, I will take the Fourth and Peonies. Love the fragrance and try to keep one cut in the house the whole time they are in bloom. So old fashioned, so lovely, so traditional.

    Trying to learn to love green tea. (Am a dyed in the wool Earl Grey girl!) will see if I can find that brand. thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Earl Grey is hard to beat Webb. I think the jasmine green has grown me due to the tropical climate. I find in cooler weather, Early Grey would be my first choice. Tea Forte has a nice selection, I hope you are able to try it. :)

      Delete
  4. The cups are gorgeous and the poetry simple but beautiful. My favorite...the Fifth Month...I am loving Kusmi tea right now...any flavor.

    Have a wonderful day!! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am with you Sandy...Kusmi is delicious! It was a toss up and I only chose Tea Forte for is the tea of the week around Chateau Mango. Kusmi next week.. ;)

      Delete
  5. My favorite would have to be Peonies. Alas, it is impossible to grow in the Georgia red clay I have available to me on my hot-afternoon-sun patio. But I do have a gorgeous Hydrangea by my front door. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. How gorgeous is that with the little sayings on the tea cups!
    My favorite flower…….hard to pick I ADORE THEM ALL REALLY.Saw my first LOTUS last year!!!At LOTUSLAND in Montecito, California.If you ever come HERE YOU MUST GO THERE!What this woman did with her garden is utterly AMAZING!Although, she had BUCKAROO's to toss about,which helped greatly but her vision was something else!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Elizabeth..if you recommend it, I will have to go! I have never been to Montecito, so much more to see and do in California. My world has only ever existed around La Jolla and San Diego. I am missing so much! I dream of an extended road trip. We drove from La Jolla to LA..would love to go the next length heading north. xx

      Delete
  7. the Seventh month: Orchids, please + i have a cup with a face in the bottom + it is one of my favorites + love the idea of poetry on each one. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree Peggy...I think that is why I was so intrigued, a lovely notion. :)

      Delete
  8. I would have to choose orchids. They remind me of my childhood home where they grew in abundance on our terrace.
    As for tea - Moroccan Mint is my favorite. I found it at Fortnum's and was delighted to find a shop that sells it here. Like your Jasmine Green, it's lovely hot or iced.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kyle..you mentioned another favourite..I miss those days of picking up tea and jam at Fortnum's whenever I happened to be in town. Boy..those were the days! Curious...orchids from your days in the Philippines? ;)

      Delete
  9. Seventh month: Orchids
    The delicate fragrance pervades the spacious hall. Like music from lofty terraces far away.

    Dear Jeanne: Tea: the delicate beverage. Each description sounds wonderful. I can inhale each cache, and smile. There is a special tea room that I frequent with my Husband. My Mother also enjoys it. Sally Lunn's originated in London, and came to NJ. Lucky me. Thank you for stopping by my blog related to Peru. I too, plan to visit there some day. It is on my list. Take Care.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think everyone should have a special tea room in their life Kathleen...preferably with delicious scones and lots of rich clotted cream! Yours sounds wonderful.. ;)

      Delete
  10. Eleventh month: Prunus tree
    "Simple beauty like a tree frozen with snow.
    Branches moving in the wind full of clear fragrance."

    The tea cups are so delicate and I can't imagine myself drinking tea from them. So precious. A tree frozen with snow.
    Have a wonderful weekend Jeanne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought you this post might appeal to you Edgar, I thought of you when I wrote them down in the museum. Best wishes...

      Delete
    2. There is a book, A Cup of Light, by Nicole Mones, published 2011 about Chinese porcelain form one of the dynasties that I read 3 years ago that might interest you. It's fiction. The woman who is an expert in antique Chinese porcelain was called to authenticate a collection from one of the dynasties.

      He talks about how she built her palace of memory to remember the nuances of intricate sketches on porcelain.

      Delete
  11. Oh my! It was so hard to choose! My initial instinct was to go for my beloved rose but the poetry was so beautiful for both the crabapple tree and orchids that I give up. :)

    I have recently switched from coffee to tea and so am loving the discovery process. A friend just gave me some aged Pu'er that she brought back from Hong Kong and it is amazing...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know the feeling Heather...it is difficult to pick just one. I spotted Pu'er when I as there and wondered. Your seal of approval sold me..I will have to go back now. ;)

      Delete
  12. I love your blog and especially loved this tea posting.
    Happy International Women's Day.
    I shall have a cup of tea and think of thee.
    Blessings
    Jeanne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From one Jeanne to another Jeanne...I thank you kindly! ;)

      Delete
  13. The cups are just beautiful! Jeanne sent me just to see them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Delighted Marilyn!! Thank you for stopping by! ;)

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