Friday, June 11, 2010

Tea horse trail and a tea house

For almost a thousand years, pack horses and human porters carried tea from China's Sichuan Province to Lhasa, Tibet, along the Tea Horse Trail (Chamagudao [茶馬古道] in Chinese). The "horse" in the name comes from what was exchanged for tea on the return trip — Tibetan Nangchen horses.

The tea transported along the 1,400-mile trail wasn't the loose, fluffy green tea that we know and love, but tea in a compacted, durable form known as brick tea. "To Tibetan monks, tea is life," says a modern-day monk. Then as now, this is true for many of us — not just monks.

And now we move from the Sino-Tibetan mountains to Japan, where Japan Dave sends us this wonderful photo of a quietly majestic traditional teahouse:

All this talk of tea has made me thirsty. Time to enter my virtual teahouse for a nice, relaxing cuppa.

—Mellow Monk


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