Zhi Bingsheng fell in love with tea by chance. He built his own tea academy, Fuyun Hall in Hangzhou. Here he tells us about Fuyun Hall’s design, the surrounding scenery, and about his affection to old teaware.
I\'m Zhi Bingsheng, the director of Fuyun Tea Academy in Hangzhou. Eight years ago, when I drank the first cup of tea, I was fascinated by it and started to learn about tea. The more I have learned, the more I think Chinese people feel very deeply about tea. When you drink a cup of tea, your sense towards tea gets awakened.
In the past there were traditional tea houses in Hangzhou. My friends and I used to bring a tea lover\'s travel basket and when we went to a tea house, we asked the shopkeepers to just leave the water and take everything else away. Then we would set the tea table ourselves and drink tea in our own teaware. When I first came into contact with tea, I was particularly fascinated by the teaware.
For tea, I rented the Zijiu Cottage near West Lake and built the Fuyun Academy. Zijiu Cottage used to be the scholar Huang Gongwang\'s secluded residence, so the cottage itself has a special atmosphere.
The two Chinese characters for Fuyun represent people who don’t pursue fame and wealth but live a simple and quiet life instead. Every person will meet different problems in his life. I hope people can endure the suffering.
The tea academy is not very big. Just about 100 square meters. I designed three tea houses according to my own habit of drinking tea and learning about tea. The smallest one is called the Rongxi Room. The one with the two windows is Small Cabinet with Transom, and the one near the lake is the Zhang Room. Each tea house gives you a different feeling.
This French window is removable so we can appreciate the scenery from inside. We can enjoy the best scenery of West Lake in the tea house. The beauty not only refers to that of the environment. A tea house needs the beauty of the environment, but also the beauty of the tea table, the quality of tea leaves, and teaware as well as the tea lover’s cultivation.
I kept the habit of collecting old tea wares for many years. This is called Jingong Kettle. Two celebrities are related to it. Zang Liu of Wuye Hall, and the other is Namitano Masahira of Guiwen Hall. The design of this kettle inherited the qualities of these two famous tea experts, including the technique of de-waxing from Guiwen Hall and the design of the mouth of the beast from Zang Liu.
After years of studying tea, I understand some classical tea wares and the origin of tea. There is so much knowledge on tea that it scares many people away. I can\'t teach everyone to use old wares which cost a lot. Therefore, a year ago, I started to personally design teaware, flower wares, tea spaces and clothes for tea lovers.
Because I like Shadowy Celadon of Song dynasty, I built my own kiln in Jingde Town. The glaze and porcelain clay for this cup was researched and developed by us, and then hand-made. I designed this cup, which is mainly used for Yan Tea. It\'s actually got a sweet smell because its body is tall. This kettle has evolved from the traditional pear shaped kettles and its water drainage is really good.
Seeing these mature teaware on the tea table, and looking back from my pure love towards tea at the very beginning, to the responsibility I have towards tea now, I feel very grateful.