"San Qing" 三清 Gaiwan in Qing Palace

Every emperor in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) loved drinking tea. Tea was every popular in the palace. The Qing palace had a place specially designed to store the tea called "Royal Tea House" 御茶坊 with 30 kinds of tea tributes every year.

According to the record of the Qing history, Emperor Qinglong (乾隆)held a tea banquet on Xin Zhen (the new year by the lunar calendar) every year during the 60 years when he is in power. Emperor Qinglong (乾隆) would choose a good day to host the banquet himself in Chonghua palace (重華宮). The banquet had a standardized etiquette order. Firstly, the emperor would give a subject to determine the atmosphere of the tea banquet. All the participants would compete on the prom they made. Later, people could drink tea and have tea cakes. The tea people had on this banquet was named as "San Qing" tea (meaning "The Three Pure" or "The Three Clean" in English"),which was made by plum blossom, finger citron and pine nut boiled with melted snow water. This tea actually is a tea with no tea in it. Sometime he would put Long Jing (Dragon Well) in it to drink with it. 

The "San Qing" teaware was made particularly for the Qing palace. There were some special requirements for it. The teaweare either comes as porcelain, lacquer or jade. on the outside of the teweares, there is always a poem made by Emperor Qinglong (乾隆): "The plum blossom has a color that is not coquettish, while finger citron has clean and fresh aroma. Pine nut is savory and aromatic. These three are the purest and most clean things." 梅花色不妖,佛手香且潔,松實味芳腴, 三味殊清絕。During the tea banquet, Emperor  Qinglong (乾隆)would give the "San Qing" teawares to those officials whose poems stood out from the rest. 

Below are some Gaiwans and tea package that were used in the Qing Palace banquet. These items are from Taipei Museum's collection. The Opening of these Qing Dynasty's Gaiwan is about 10.6cm, approximately 4.17".

The tea packages that were used in Qing palace, mostly made by sliver. 


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