China discovers the first Sancai of Lu Yu brewing tea

It is reported from the Research Institute of Cultural Relics in Gongyi, Henan, a Sancai has been discovered in the tomb from a middle and later stage of Tang Dynasty. It has been identified by the expert as the first Sancai from Tang Dynasty, which displayed the image of the sage of tea – Lu Yu – brewing tea, which is also the earliest discovered material on the body shape and appearance of Lu Yu.

The Sancai, called the “Picture of Lu Yu Brewing Tea” by the expert, using brown, green and a creamy off-white for decoration. On the right side sits the tomb figure. The brewing pot is placed on the stove of the left side. Two parts together sit on a rectangular backplane. The tomb figure is approximately 11 centimeters tall, wearing a green hat and dressing tight sleeves and round collar Changshan. He sits on a lumbar shaped round seat, leaning slightly forward while looking closely and focused on the brewing pot. His left hand is put on his left leg. His right-hand holds the gourd ladle. The whole picture seems like he is ready to serve the tea anytime.

“The unearthed piece of Sancai has provided direct evidence to study the appearance of Lu Yu and also the tea culture in Tang Dynasty.” Says the leader of the archaeological team, director of the Research Institute of Cultural Relics in Gongyi, Hennai, “The memorial tablet inside the tomb describes the Mrs. Zhang was buried in 832, 28 years before the death of Lu Yu. People back then might have portrait Lu Yu in a way that is closer to what he really looks like.”

Based on the glaze and body, the expert determined that the Sancai of Lu Yu brewing tea was made from Huangye kiln. Gongyi the main production sites for Sancai. And the Huangye kiln manufactured Sancai is only 1 kilometer away from the tomb where the “Lu Yu brewing tea” was found.

In May 2015, in order to coordinate with the infrastructure construction, the Research Institute of Cultural Relics in Gongyi, Henan was authorized by Henan Cultural Relics Institute to conduct archaeological excavations on a construction site. From the tomb of series number of M226, it unearthed porcelain, Sancai, bronze, silverware, memorial tablet and a total of 25 heritages. The set of tea wares find corresponded with “The Classic of Tea”, including crushing roller, tea container, tea pot, tea cup, tea divider, stove and brewing pot.

“The tomb has a clear record of time, a complete set of tea ware and the statue of Lu Yu, and it confirm with the literature research. The research very is very high.” says the dean of Archaeology and Museology Department at Beijing University, “the tomb is very small, only 4 square meters, which means the social status of the owner is not high. In fact, because the lower is not high, it indicates that tea drinking was popular already during that time.”