Review Report

History, Philosophy, and Rituals of Tea Ceremony: Integration of Tradition and Modernity  

Huiyi Kuang1 , Mengting Luo2 , Xuanjun Fang2
1 Chen’s School of Art & Design, Jiyang College of Zhejiang A&F University, Zhuji, 311800, China
2 Institute of Life Science, Jiyang College of Zhejiang A&F University, Zhuji, 311800, China
Author    Correspondence author
Journal of Tea Science Research, 2023, Vol. 13, No. 4   doi: 10.5376/jtsr.2023.13.0004
Received: 01 Sep., 2023    Accepted: 12 Sep., 2023    Published: 21 Sep., 2023
© 2023 BioPublisher Publishing Platform
This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Preferred citation for this article:

Kuang H.Y, Luo M.T., and Fang X.J., 2023, History, philosophy, and rituals of tea ceremony: integration of tradition and modernity, Journal of Tea Science Research, 13(4): 1-13 (doi: 10.5376/jtsr.2023.13.0004)


Traditional tea ceremony is a representative form of tea art performance deeply rooted in the history, philosophy, and rituals of tea culture. This study aimed to focus on the traditional characteristics of tea ceremony in terms of history, philosophy, and rituals, and to delve into its transformations and innovations in contemporary society, in order to explore the extent of the organic integration between traditional tea ceremony and the modern world. This research systematically reviewed the historical origins, philosophical ideas, and ritual heritage of tea ceremony, and through comparisons of tea ceremony development across different historical periods, it was uncover the evolutionary trajectory of tea ceremony influenced by cultural factors such as Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Additionally, it was examine the procedures of tea ceremony, the utilization of tea utensils and attire, as well as the philosophical meanings conveyed, including concepts of balance, nature, and meditation. Simultaneously, this study combined modern lifestyle patterns to gain an in-depth understanding of how traditional tea ceremony has evolved and innovated in the modern context, how it has integrated with contemporary life philosophies and creative cultures, and how it has employed modern approaches to attract increased attention. As a cultural treasure, traditional tea ceremony not only embodies the essence of tea culture but also encapsulates profound philosophical significance. The exploration undertaken in this research contributes to a deeper comprehension of the historical origins and traditional values of tea ceremony, thereby facilitating its transmission and promotion as a cultural heritage. Moreover, examining the changes and innovations of tea ceremony in contemporary society can reveal its potential for application in addressing modern needs and capturing the interest of the new generation.

Tea ceremony culture; Tea ceremony history; Tea ceremony philosophy; Tea ceremony ritual; Integration of tradition and modernity

The tea ceremony, a unique and significant cultural heritage of China, embodies the fusion of tea preparation techniques, aesthetic design of utensils, and behavioral norms of etiquette into a traditional form of tea art performance. Through the ritualistic enactment of the tea ceremony, individuals have the opportunity to perceive the distinct allure of tea and to immerse themselves in a harmonious connection with nature, others, and their inner selves. As a form of tea art performance, the tea ceremony boasts a profound history that spans back through the ages. The origins of the tea ceremony could be traced to ancient China, where tea not only held a position as a vital beverage but also gradually became regarded as an elegant pursuit and a means of cultivating one's character. The development of the tea ceremony is intricately linked with the refinement of tea preparation techniques, evolving over time into a comprehensive system encompassing tea artistry, etiquette, philosophy, and art (Joliffe, 2004).


The origins of the tea ceremony could be traced back to the Tang Dynasty in the 8th century AD, a period during which the preparation and consumption of tea began to take shape. As time progressed, various tea varieties, preparation methods, and utensils gradually evolved, leading to a heightened sense of ritual within the tea ceremony. During the Song and Ming Dynasties, the tea ceremony experienced further development and dissemination, evolving into an activity with religious, artistic, and ceremonial significance (Hinsch, 2015).


During the Song Dynasty, the tea ceremony began to emphasize both the crafting and appreciation of tea, gradually forming its distinctive rituals. By the Ming Dynasty, literati and scholars were captivated by the art of the tea ceremony, transforming tea gatherings into prominent social events intertwined with literature, painting, and music. Moving into the Qing Dynasty, the ceremonial aspects and etiquette norms of the tea ceremony were further reinforced, while the design and craftsmanship of tea utensils underwent meticulous refinement. In the modern and contemporary periods, the tea ceremony faced challenges and underwent transformations, but also saw opportunities for revival. Adherents and enthusiasts of the tea ceremony revisited traditional rituals, infusing new vitality into its progression and innovation. Simultaneously, the tea ceremony adapted flexibly to the demands of modern society, incorporating contemporary elements and innovative expressions to expand its stage onto a broader spectrum.


As an integral component of Chinese culture, the tea ceremony is not only a distinctive form of performance but also a deeply ingrained cultural experience. Through the tea ceremony, individuals could perceive the aroma, taste, and texture of tea, while also experiencing the tranquility, serenity, and harmonious ambiance that tea imparts. The historical context of the tea ceremony assists us in understanding its origins and developmental trajectory, thereby delving further into its place and significance within traditional Chinese culture. This research aimed to provide a comprehensive overview of the history, philosophy, and rituals of the tea ceremony, explore the integration of traditional tea ceremony practices with modern society, and examine the educational and promotional implications of the tea ceremony in contemporary times.


1 Historical Development of Tea Ceremony

The tea ceremony stands as a unique and crucial presence within Chinese culture, having undergone a long process of development. From the origins and evolution of ancient tea ceremonies to the development of tea ceremonies in the Song, Ming, and Qing Dynasties, and further to the revival and transformation of tea ceremonies in modern times, the tea ceremony has been in constant evolution (Li, 1993). The historical development of the tea ceremony helps us gain a deeper understanding of its context and cultural significance, while also offering insights for its education and promotion in contemporary society.


1.1 Origins and evolution of ancient tea ceremony

The origins of the tea ceremony could be traced back to the Tang Dynasty in the 8th century. During this period, the methods of tea preparation and consumption gradually took shape, and people began to pay attention to the quality and flavor of tea leaves. Initially, the tea ceremony was a simple activity of tea tasting, allowing individuals to savor the aroma and taste of the tea leaves. The tea culture of the Tang Dynasty was heavily influenced by Confucian, Taoist, and Buddhist philosophies, imbuing tea with meanings of nurturing the mind and facilitating meditative contemplation. As time passed, various tea varieties, preparation techniques, and utensils developed, transforming the tea ceremony into a performative art with ritualistic and ceremonial requirements. In the Tang Dynasty, literati and cultured individuals regarded the tea ceremony as an elegant pursuit, blending tea with poetry, calligraphy, and music, thereby creating a culturally aesthetic experience (Figure 1).


Figure 1 A Palace Concert, Anonymous, Tang Dynasty, Silk based ink brush painting. Currently in collection at the Taipei Palace Museum (Source: Official website of Taipei Palace Museum)


A Palace Concert, depicts ten concubines of the imperial harem seated around a massive square table, some sipping tea and others engaged in drinking games. In the center, four individuals are responsible for playing music to enhance the ambiance. The instruments they hold, from right to left, include the Bili (an oboe instrument), Pipa (a stringed instrument), Guzheng (a zither), and Sheng (a reed instrument). Among the two standing maidservants, one lightly taps on a wooden board, setting the rhythm for them.


During the Song Dynasty, the tea ceremony continued to develop, giving rise to distinctive ritual procedures and methods of utilizing tea utensils. This era emphasized both the art of tea preparation and the harmonious beauty of the tea-drinking ritual. In the Ming Dynasty, the tea ceremony gradually integrated into social and cultural activities, and tea gatherings became spaces for literati exchanges, imbuing the tea ceremony with even more cultural significance. The evolution of the ancient tea ceremony not only reflects the advancement of tea preparation techniques but also showcases people's pursuit of nature, art, and humanistic ideals. Therefore, the origins and evolution of the ancient tea ceremony are not merely the progression of tea-making skills. They also serve as a mirror of Chinese culture, reflecting the spirit of incessant exploration into life's aesthetics, spiritual pursuits, and social integration.


1.2 Development of tea ceremony in the Song, Ming, and Qing Dynasties

During the Song Dynasty, the tea ceremony underwent significant advancement and widespread promotion. In this period, the tea ceremony went beyond being a mere act of tea consumption; it integrated the art of tea-making and the philosophy of taste, further evolving into a distinct set of tea ceremony rituals. These rituals placed great emphasis on the craftsmanship and quality of tea leaves, highlighting the vitality of tea and the subtle changes in flavor, while also embodying a sense of reverence for nature and life.


During the Song Dynasty, the tea gathering, as a prominent social activity, provided a valuable platform for the inheritance and evolution of the tea ceremony. People at these gatherings did not simply taste tea; rather, they utilized this context to exchange ideas, communicate emotions, and establish interpersonal connections. The tea gathering became a focal point, bringing together individuals from diverse backgrounds – from literati and scholars to officials and merchants – all utilizing tea as a medium to share their insights and experiences (Figure 2).


Figure 2 Literary GatheringZhao Ji, Northern Song Dynasty, Silk-mounted vertical scroll. Currently in collection at Taipei Palace Museum (Source: Official website of Taipei Palace Museum)


Literary Gathering vividly depicts the scene of literati gathering to enjoy tea during the Northern Song Dynasty. The setting is within a courtyard, adjacent to a serene pond with clear reflections of the surrounding rocks. Encircled by a railing, willow trees and bamboo intertwine, casting playful shadows. Beneath the trees lies a large table adorned with fruit platters, wine flasks, cups, and other elements, creating an atmosphere of merriment. Eight or nine scribes sit around the table – some composed, some engrossed in debate, some sipping tea from their cups, and others engaging in hushed conversations. They were dressed in Confucian robes and wearing black silk ribbon scarf, they exude an air of contentment and leisure.


Accompanying the tea gathering is the tranquility and harmony that tea brings. During the Song Dynasty, people seamlessly integrated tea into their lives, using it as a means to soothe the soul. Tea appreciation evolved into a pleasurable ritual, where individuals sought inner tranquility and serenity. The fragrant aroma of tea, the warmth of tea liquor, and the focused act of brewing tea collectively transported people to a realm beyond the mundane. In this serenity, individuals harmonized with nature, engaged in self-dialogue, and experienced the beauty of life. Building upon the foundation of tea production and taste, the tea ceremony of the Song Dynasty reached new heights through the unique social approach of the tea gathering. It wasn't merely a ritual of tea consumption but an exchange of emotions and a transmission of ideas. The tranquility and harmony brought by tea became an oasis within people's hearts, offering them moments of peace and contentment amidst the bustle of life. The tea ceremony of the Song Dynasty, with its distinct charm, laid a solid groundwork for the future development and continuation of tea culture.


Entering the Ming and Qing periods, the tea ceremony not only continued to develop but also achieved significant progress and deepening. Especially during the Qing Dynasty, the tea ceremony further evolved, emphasizing etiquette and ritual, exhibiting new characteristics and influences. 


In the Ming and Qing eras, the ritualistic nature of the tea ceremony was intensified. The arrangement of the tea gathering and the intricacies of the ritual became more refined. People began to view the tea ceremony as a means to showcase their social status and cultural refinement. Every detail of the tea gathering was meticulously considered, from the selection and arrangement of tea utensils to the procedures of the tea art performance. This reflected a meticulously designed order of etiquette. The tea ceremony was not merely about tasting tea; it also became a means of expressing social relationships, respect, and reverence, thereby uniting people's hearts and emotions.


During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the enthusiasm of literati and scholars towards the tea ceremony further elevated, considering it a means of cultural expression and a medium for social interaction. The tea ceremony became one of the social avenues for literati and cultured individuals. They exchanged poetry and verses during tea gatherings, used tea as a medium to foster friendships, and used the ceremony to express their emotions. The tea gathering became a platform for showcasing the charm of literati, where cultural exchanges facilitated by the tea ceremony prompted the fusion of tea culture with various art forms, including literature and painting.


During the Qing Dynasty, the tea ceremony was closely intertwined with the imperial court, and the aristocracy's love for the tea ceremony propelled its prosperous development. Emperor Qianlong's affection for tea and poetry, along with his exploration of renowned teas from across the country, solidified his status as one of the most tea-appreciating monarchs in history (Yu, 1996). Historical records indicate that Emperor Qianlong composed over 200 poems centered around tea and once remarked:"A day without tea is a day not lived." The imperial palace and nobility regarded the tea ceremony as an embodiment of taste and aesthetics. They actively engaged in tea gatherings and even devised various tea utensils to underscore their commitment to the tea ceremony (Figure 3).


Figure 3 Famille rose characters teapot, Qianlong period during the Qing Dynasty. Currently in collection at the Palace Museum, China (Source: Official website of the Palace Museum, China)


Famille rose characters teapot features a plump and mature design, with graceful and delicate pastel-colored enamels. The decorative motif draws inspiration from Emperor Qianlong's seventh year of reign (1742) imperial poem "Brewing Tea in the Rain, Leisurely Strolling in the Studio," portraying a spacious composition, intricate details, and exquisite calligraphy. Emperor Qianlong's extensive collection of poems throughout his life is evident in this official kiln teapot, reflecting his literary pursuits.


In summary, the development of the tea ceremony during the Ming and Qing Dynasties exhibited characteristics of increased refinement, heightened ritualization, and richer cultural connotations. It went beyond being a mere tea-drinking ritual, transforming into a symbol of culture, social interaction, and identity. During this era, the tea gathering not only fulfilled the function of tea consumption but also became a platform for expressing human emotions and aesthetic pursuits. The development of the tea ceremony during the Ming and Qing Dynasties laid a solid foundation for the richness and diversity of Chinese tea culture.


1.3 Revival and transformation of tea ceremony in modern times

In modern times, the tea ceremony embarked on a journey of revival and transformation in response to the challenges and changes of the era. As China rapidly embraced modernization, the tea ceremony faced the risk of marginalization, and its traditional significance seemed to fade. However, the custodians and enthusiasts of the tea ceremony revitalized its essence, spearheading a wave of innovation and transformation.


Rather than blindly conforming to the demands of the new era, the tea ceremony creatively integrated elements to exhibit a new radiance in a modern context. The ever-changing stage of the tea ceremony and its evolving essence have emphasized the urgency of cultural dissemination. The tea ceremony has evolved beyond mere ritual; it has become a cultural lesson. With renewed values, the tea ceremony shines once more. It stands as a representative of traditional virtues, a gateway to cultural exchange, and an elevation of human emotions.


Furthermore, the revival of the tea ceremony has led to the emergence of numerous tea schools and research institutions, providing increased emphasis on the preservation and education of the tea ceremony. The development of the tea ceremony goes beyond traditional forms, integrating modern artistic elements and thereby radiating new charm and influence.


2 Philosophical Foundations of Tea Ceremony

The tea ceremony, as a traditional form of tea art, encompasses the essence of diverse philosophies such as Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism (Chen, 2002). By emphasizing tranquility, nature, and meditation, the tea ceremony assists individuals in attaining inner equilibrium, harmony with nature, and a sense of tranquility and balance in their minds. Guided by the spiritual essence and philosophical significance of the tea ceremony, it has evolved into a culturally meaningful and valuable experience.


2.1 Tea ceremony and its relationship with Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian philosophies

2.1.1 Relationship with Buddhist philosophy

The bond between the tea ceremony and Buddhist philosophy is intricately woven, forming a profound spiritual connection (Hinsch, 2015). Buddhist beliefs emphasize equality, compassion, and inner cultivation, while the tea ceremony, through its unique ritualistic and serene ambiance, seeks inner tranquility and balance. The convergence of these two, like a harmonious poem, advocates for internal harmony and peace.


The ritual processes and etiquette of the tea ceremony essentially embody the essence of Buddhist thought. These core principles are encapsulated within every detail of the tea ceremony. Through the preparation and consumption of tea, it conveys the highest pursuit of respecting others, being grateful for nature, and striving for equality and harmony. Each step of the tea ceremony is an exchange of hearts, a tribute to the harmonious coexistence of humanity and nature. The meditation and focus during the ceremony guide individuals beyond external disturbances, leading them into internal serenity.


The practice of the tea ceremony becomes a purification journey for the soul, guiding individuals from the distractions of the external world to the tranquility within. In the ambiance of wafting tea fragrance, people can sense an inner serenity and calmness. Just as the spiritual realm of compassion, equality, and harmony advocated by Buddhism, the practice of the tea ceremony enables individuals to gradually comprehend these profound meanings. Each tea ceremony serves as an awakening of the soul, a deep contemplation and realization of life.


During the tea ceremony, individuals engage in a dialogue with their own inner selves. Amid the silence, they observe the changing tea leaves, savor the aroma of the tea, and experience the pleasure of each sip. The tea ceremony is not only an aesthetic indulgence but also a journey of spiritual purification. Through the tea ceremony, people learn to listen to the voice within, understand the essence of life, and experience the marvelous sensation of merging with the universe.


Therefore, the connection between the tea ceremony and Buddhism is not merely a fusion of cultures. It is a convergence of hearts and souls. Through the meditation and inner balance inherent in its rituals, the tea ceremony guides individuals towards higher levels of spiritual practice. Within the realm of the tea ceremony, people can experience the power of compassion, the value of equality, and the beauty of harmony. This spiritual fusion tightly binds the tea ceremony with Buddhism, offering individuals a sense of inner tranquility and authentic experience.


2.1.2 Relationship with Taoist philosophy

The core tenet of Taoism emphasizes the harmonious coexistence between humans and nature. The tea ceremony, through its reverence for and pursuit of nature, deeply conveys this value (Li and Kong, 2020). The tea ceremony not only represents a unique ritual but also embodies a way of life that harmoniously interacts with nature, integrating humans and the natural world, much in line with Taoist ideals.


The stages of tasting, preparing, and appreciating tea allow individuals to deeply immerse themselves in the embrace of nature. Every aspect of tea's growth, harvesting, and processing is intimately intertwined with nature. The inherent attributes of tea leaves are preserved, enabling individuals to experience the beauty and mystery of the natural world. During the tea ceremony, participants seem to be transported into nature itself, listening to its sounds and sensing its rhythms. This experience sharpens their perception of natural changes and awakens a profound awareness of their interconnectedness with nature at a deep level.


The tea ceremony itself is a process of harmonious coexistence with nature. The tea ceremony emphasizes respecting the rhythms of nature and blending with its changes. On the stage of the tea ceremony, the boundaries between individuals and nature gradually blur, becoming an integral part of harmonious coexistence. The aroma of tea and the essence of nature intertwine, allowing individuals to feel a sense of inner tranquility and serenity. The practice of the tea ceremony liberates individuals from the clamor of the mundane world, guiding them into the embrace of nature, where they harmoniously coexist.


Through the practice of tea ceremony, individuals engage in a profound dialogue with nature and sense the fusion of the inner and outer worlds. The rituals of tea ceremony are imbued with reverence and awe for nature, as if conveying the essence of Taoist philosophy. The process of tasting, brewing, and savoring tea is a form of communication with nature, an experience that allows one to connect with the beauty of the natural world. This practice of harmonious coexistence encourages people to cherish nature even more and to contemplate the meaning of life, aligning with the principles advocated by Taoism.


2.1.3 Relationship between tea ceremony and Confucianism

The values of benevolence, propriety, and interpersonal relationships emphasized by Confucianism find vivid expression within the realm of tea ceremony. The ritualistic and ceremonial aspects of tea ceremony establish a foundation of mutual respect, reflecting the dignity and harmony of human interaction. The interplay between the ritualistic nature of tea ceremony and the principles of Confucian interpersonal relationships creates a framework for mutual respect and harmonious coexistence.


The ritualistic nature and etiquette requirements of tea ceremony greatly reflect the Confucian concept of propriety. Every aspect of tea ceremony, from tea preparation to pouring and serving, from appreciating the tea to meticulously attending to the tea utensils, constitutes a meticulous interpretation of etiquette norms. These activities not only uphold the essence of ancient rituals but also cultivate participants' self-cultivation and moral elevation. Confucianism places emphasis on individual self-cultivation and moral development, and the practice of tea ceremony provides a platform for nurturing virtues and self-improvement. Through interactions and sharing at the tea table, tea enthusiasts cultivate virtues of respect, understanding, and tolerance - virtues that align with the Confucian virtues of benevolence and moral integrity.


As a cultural ritual inherited from ancient times, tea ceremony, guided by Confucian philosophy, underscores the significance of benevolence, etiquette, and interpersonal relationships. Through tea ceremony, individuals not only savor the aroma of tea but also reflect upon their own words and actions, nurturing the ability to harmoniously interact with others. The ritualistic nature of tea ceremony necessitates that individuals come together under the framework of etiquette, creating an atmosphere of mutual respect, much like the Confucian emphasis on human relationships, highlighting the importance of harmony within both the family and society.


Tea ceremony is not only a cultural heritage but also a concrete embodiment of Confucian values. Its practice integrates Confucian ideals into daily life, guiding people to pursue benevolence and respect for others, thereby cultivating a society marked by harmony, understanding, and tolerance. The process of tea ceremony not only nurtures individual virtues but also perpetuates the spirit of Confucian thought, allowing Confucian values to continue at the tea table.


2.2 The spiritual essence and philosophical significance of tea ceremony

Tea ceremony is not merely a tea art performance. It holds a profound spiritual essence and philosophical significance as a cultural experience. Tea ceremony seeks inner tranquility, harmony between self and others, a connection with nature, and employs the ritual of tea and the aesthetic design of utensils to convey these spiritual pursuits. The spiritual essence of tea ceremony manifests in aspects such as calmness and meditation, harmony and reverence, as well as the relationship between nature and respect.


2.2.1 Calmness and meditation

Tea ceremony emphasizes maintaining inner calm and serenity while enjoying tea. Through meditation and focused tasting of tea leaves, individuals can transcend distractions and disturbances, achieving a deep sense of inner tranquility and balance. This experience represents an exploration of one's inner self, allowing individuals to become more connected with themselves and fostering a sense of equanimity in their daily lives.


2.2.2 Harmony and reverence

The emphasis on interaction and communication within the tea ceremony establishes a social space for sharing the beauty of tea. Each ritual and etiquette observed during the tea gathering subtly nurtures an atmosphere of harmonious interaction and reverence among individuals. Through the act of sharing the pleasure of tea with others, we not only blend with the tea leaves but also engage in an exchange of emotions and sentiments, collectively forging a bond of shared feelings.


2.2.3 Nature and respect

The pursuit of the tea ceremony extends beyond the realm of taste alone. It encompasses a fusion with nature. Emphasizing respect and reverence for nature, the tea ceremony unites individuals with the natural world at every moment of tea appreciation. While savoring tea, people sense the marvel and enigma of nature, simultaneously becoming more conscious of the significance of harmonious coexistence between humans and the natural world within this process.


2.3 The significance of balance, nature, and meditation in tea ceremony

One of the fundamental principles of the tea ceremony is the pursuit of balance, encompassing inner equilibrium, harmonious interpersonal relationships, and equilibrium with nature. Through its rituals and prescribed etiquette, the tea ceremony nurtures qualities of tranquility, stability, humility, and the ability to navigate interpersonal dynamics.


Moreover, the tea ceremony emphasizes connection with nature and reverence for it. The design of its rituals and utensils incorporates elements inspired by nature's beauty, fostering a sense of closeness to the natural world and an appreciation for its power and allure.


Meditation also holds a pivotal role within the tea ceremony. The ceremonial nature and the focused act of tea tasting enable participants to immerse themselves in the present moment, leaving behind distractions. As they savor the aroma, flavor, and texture of the tea, they attain inner serenity and tranquility.


3 Rituals and Etiquette of Tea Ceremony

The tea ceremony, as a traditional form of tea art, possesses intricate and distinctive rituals and etiquette. Within the procedural flow and steps of the tea ceremony, the preparatory phase, hand-washing ritual, arrangement of tea utensils, tea preparation and tasting, as well as the cleaning and tidying of the utensils, all hold great significance. Tea implements, utensils, and attire within the tea ceremony hold symbolic meanings and aesthetic values. The conduct and comportment in the tea ceremony reflect a respect for the ritual itself and a consideration for others.


3.1 Tea ceremony ritual process and steps

Preparation Phase: The tea ceremony commences with the preparation phase. The host begins by cleaning the tea utensils and implements, placing them in suitable positions. Subsequently, the host decorates the tea setting with flowers, artworks, or other decorations to create an elegant and harmonious ambiance.


Welcoming and Small Talk: As the tea ceremony officially begins, the host welcomes the guests and engages in brief small talk. This step reflects the respect and care shown to the guests in the tea ceremony.


Boiling Water and Brewing Tea: Boiling water and brewing tea are the central elements of the tea ceremony. The host employs specific tea stoves or teapots to boil water, pouring the hot water into a teacup and adding an appropriate amount of tea leaves. Afterwards, the host stirs the tea leaves and water in a particular manner to encourage the release of fragrance and flavor.


Pouring and Serving Tea: The host pours the tea into teacups or tea bowls using a specific technique, then offers the teacups or tea bowls to the guests. During tea serving, the host typically adopts specific gestures to show respect and humility.


Tasting and Appreciating: Guests should pay attention to details when tasting tea. While savoring the tea, guests should note the fragrance, color, taste, and texture of the tea leaves, and engage in moderate evaluation. Sharing one's own feelings and experiences with others is also a part of the tea ceremony.


Gratitude and Farewell: At the conclusion of the tea ceremony, guests may express gratitude to the host and bid farewell to other guests. This step embodies the gratitude and respect within the tea ceremony.


3.2 Significance and usage of tea utensils, implements, and attire

Tea utensils, implements, and attire play crucial roles in the tea ceremony, carrying both practical functions and symbolic meanings and aesthetic values.


Tea utensils are essential elements in the tea ceremony, including teapots, teacups, tea trays, and tea scoops. Each type of utensil has its unique meaning and purpose. Teapots are used for boiling water and brewing tea, teacups for holding tea broth, tea trays for arranging utensils and tea leaves, and tea scoops for stirring tea leaves and water.


The tea utensils and implements in the tea ceremony not only serve practical functions but also emphasize aesthetic design. The shapes, materials, and decorations of the tea utensils reflect a pursuit of beauty. Common materials used in the tea ceremony include ceramics, porcelain, and Yixing clay teapots (redware ceramic tea-pot). The intricate decorative patterns and motifs, as well as the use and arrangement of these utensils, hold specific ritualistic significance and meaning.


Attire is an integral part of the tea ceremony. Tea ceremony attire typically includes clothing, headpieces, and accessories. Clothing often follows the style of traditional Han Fu (Hanbiuk) garments and emphasizes the choice of colors and fabrics, portraying elegance and dignity. Headpieces and accessories could be matched according to different tea ceremony traditions and occasions, enhancing the sense of ritual and solemnity.


3.3 Manner and etiquette requirements in the tea ceremony

In the tea ceremony, manner and etiquette play an extremely important role, as these details not only demonstrate reverence for the ritual but also convey respect and consideration for participants. Through these subtle actions, the tea ceremony conveys a profound way of interpersonal interaction, reflecting values of respect and care.


During the tea ceremony, participants should maintain a quiet and calm mindset, avoiding loud noises and unrelated conversations. Speech and behavior should be refined and appropriate, avoiding rudeness and offending others. When communicating with others, it's important to exhibit politeness and respect, demonstrating care and understanding for others.


The tea ceremony places a high emphasis on strict etiquette requirements, encompassing respect and gratitude towards the host and other participants, as well as care and appreciation for the tea utensils and leaves. When receiving tea, it's customary to use both hands to accept the tea cup and express gratitude to the host. While tasting the tea, attention to etiquette and ritual is important, following prescribed gestures and sequences.


The rituals and etiquette demands of the tea ceremony not only reflect reverence for the practice itself but also show respect for others and social settings. Through speech, conduct, and adherence to these etiquette norms, the tea ceremony underscores harmonious relationships and mutual respect among individuals, creating a serene, tranquil, and harmonious ambiance for participants.


4 The Integration of Traditional Tea Ceremony and Modern Society

The fusion of traditional tea ceremony with modern society has enabled it to maintain its distinct position and influence. The status of tea ceremony in contemporary society is evident in its pursuit of spirituality, facilitation of social interactions, and preservation of traditional culture. By incorporating modern reforms and innovations, tea ceremony has harmonized with the demands of modern society, showcasing new allure and creativity. The expression and interpretation of tea ceremony in contemporary culture and art have elevated it to the status of a cultural treasure and an artistic element within modern society.


4.1 The status and influence of tea ceremony in modern society

Tea ceremony maintains a significant position and profound influence in modern society. Despite the significant changes in lifestyles and values within modern society, tea ceremony, as a representative of traditional culture, continues to attract the attention and affection of many individuals.


Foremost is its impact on spiritual pursuit and inner tranquility. In today's fast-paced and stress-filled world, tea ceremony is gaining popularity as a means to seek inner peace and relaxation. The etiquette of tea ceremony and its meditative process help individuals set aside worries and distractions, enabling them to find inner serenity and balance.


Furthermore, there is an impact on social interaction and interpersonal relationships. The tea ceremony provides a space for communication and sharing among individuals. During the tea gathering, people can savor tea, exchange thoughts, and establish profound interpersonal relationships through interaction. Tea ceremony emphasizes etiquette and mutual respect, fostering individuals' abilities in interpersonal communication and refinement.


Most significantly, there is an impact on the preservation and promotion of traditional culture. As a representative of Chinese traditional culture, tea ceremony retains its unique artistry and cultural significance through its continuation and promotion in modern society. Devotees and practitioners of tea ceremony strive to convey its spirit to a wider audience, making tea ceremony a cultural treasure in contemporary society.


4.2 Modern transformation and innovation of tea ceremony

With the changes and developments in modern society, the tea ceremony is continuously undergoing modernization and innovation to cater to the needs and aesthetics of contemporary individuals. The evolution of tea ceremony is evident in various aspects, including scientific and technological advancements, lifestyle changes, and creative culture.


First and foremost, the progress of modern society has brought about significant transformations in the modernization of facilities and techniques in tea ceremony. Contemporary tea rooms and tea houses are equipped with advanced facilities and technologies, such as intelligent tea-making machines and quality assessment instruments for tea leaves, making the process of tea preparation and tasting more precise and convenient.


As modern society's progress shifts people's focus toward pursuing a healthy lifestyle, the tea ceremony has become closely intertwined with health-conscious living. Tea is recognized for its anti-oxidative properties, metabolism-boosting effects, and immune system enhancement, making the tea ceremony a choice aligned with a healthy lifestyle (Pan et al., 2022).


With the development of cultural and creative arts, the fusion of the tea ceremony with innovative creative culture continues to advance. The integration of the tea ceremony with modern culture and art infuses it with new charm and creativity. The combination of tea ceremony performance art, tea exhibitions, and collaborations between the tea ceremony and art forms such as music and painting injects more vitality and innovation into the practice.


4.3 Expression and interpretation of tea ceremony in contemporary culture and art

Tea ceremony, as a form of expressing traditional culture, integrates with contemporary culture and art, presenting a diverse range of forms and meanings. Through dialogue with contemporary culture, tea ceremony's significance and value are reinterpreted in the context of modern society. The combination of tea ceremony with art forms such as photography, film, and literature showcases the aesthetic and cultural essence of tea ceremony.


In addition, tea ceremony has become an essential element in contemporary artistic creations. Artists utilize the elements of tea ceremony, including its rituals, tea utensils, and tea leaves, for their creative works, using these artworks to interpret the philosophy and spirit of tea ceremony.


As a representative of traditional culture, tea ceremony also shoulders the responsibility of cultural education and promotion. Through cultural education and promotional activities, tea ceremony conveys its aesthetic and cultural essence to a wider audience. Activities in the form of tea ceremony schools, research institutions, and tea art performances provide platforms for the inheritance and promotion of tea ceremony.


5 Education and Promotion of Tea Ceremony

Tea ceremony, as a traditional form of tea art performance, plays a significant role not only in its widespread inheritance and development among enthusiasts but also in education and societal promotion.


5.1 Inheritance of tea ceremony and the apprenticeship system for tea masters

The inheritance of tea ceremony primarily relies on the apprenticeship system, where the skills and spiritual essence of tea ceremony are imparted through long-term guidance from masters to apprentices. Masters demonstrate and guide apprentices personally, enabling them to gradually master the rituals, techniques, and insights of tea ceremony, thus cultivating competent tea masters.


The establishment of tea academies provides a formal educational pathway for the inheritance and cultivation of tea masters. Academy education focuses on imparting theoretical knowledge, covering aspects such as the history, culture, and art of tea ceremony. Practical components are integrated to cultivate students' tea ceremony skills and refinement. With the development of the internet, innovative methods for tea ceremony inheritance and cultivating tea masters have emerged. Online platforms and training courses offer opportunities for remote learning, utilizing video tutorials and interactive communication to enable a wider audience to engage with and learn the skills and essence of tea ceremony.


5.2 Promoting tea education in schools and communities

Promoting tea education in schools and communities plays a crucial role in the inheritance and popularization of tea ceremony, providing more people with the opportunity to learn about and appreciate tea ceremony. Education and promotion of tea ceremony are essential aspects of its inheritance and development. Through methods such as the mentor ship system for passing down tea ceremony skills, the promotion of tea education in schools and communities, as well as the integration of tea ceremony with cultural tourism, the allure and value of tea ceremony can be disseminated and recognized more widely. Tea education and promotion not only enrich people's cultural lives but also foster the transmission and innovation of tea ceremony culture.


Incorporating tea ceremony into school curricula and offering related courses allows students to learn about the culture and skills of tea ceremony. Through teaching activities and hands-on experiences, students' understanding of tea ceremony's refinement and appreciation could be cultivated.


Organizing tea ceremony promotion activities in the community, such as tea art performances, tea lectures, and tea experience classes, provides community residents with the opportunity to come into contact with and understand tea ceremony. Through community events, tea ceremony is integrated into the lives of ordinary people, allowing more individuals to benefit from the cultural and aesthetic aspects of tea ceremony. Additionally, hosting tea ceremony competitions and exhibitions can offer a platform for tea enthusiasts to exchange ideas and showcase their skills, igniting enthusiasm and motivation for learning about tea ceremony. These competitions and exhibitions can also attract greater attention, fostering the dissemination and promotion of tea ceremony culture.


5.3 Integration of tea ceremony and cultural tourism

The combination of tea ceremony and cultural tourism has provided new opportunities for the promotion and development of tea ceremony. By integrating tea ceremony with tourist attractions, cultural sites, and more, a new form of tea culture tourism has been created. Tea ceremony experiential tourism, tea culture villages, tea gardens, as well as hosting tea culture festivals and events, have become popular trends in contemporary tea and cultural tourism.


Tea experiential tourism offers visitors the opportunity to engage in tea ceremony practices firsthand, allowing them to appreciate the art and culture of tea. This type of tourism not only enhances the appeal of travel destinations but also facilitates the dissemination and promotion of tea culture. The establishment of tea culture villages and tea gardens serves as a hub for cultivating tea culture and tourist attractions.


Within these tea culture villages and tea gardens, tourists can enjoy the scenic beauty of tea gardens, gain insights into the tea production process, and participate in tea ceremony rituals and tea-tasting activities. Additionally, through the development of experiential tourism and cultural villages, hosting tea culture festivals and events can further capture the attention of tea enthusiasts and travelers. Events such as tea performances, tea art exhibitions, and lectures on tea culture not only showcase the allure of tea ceremony but also contribute to the growth of local cultural tourism.


6 Conclusion and Prospects

Tea ceremony, as a traditional form of tea art performance, embodies the history, philosophy, and rituals associated with tea leaves. Through its integration with modern society, it highlights its significance and influence.


The history of tea ceremony can be traced back to ancient times, undergoing a lengthy process of development. In China's origin and evolution of tea ceremony, it has been influenced by Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian ideologies. Emphasizing the importance of balance, nature, and meditation, tea ceremony conveys a philosophical meaning of spiritual pursuit and inner calm through the preparation and tasting of tea. The rituals and etiquette of tea ceremony reflect respect for traditions and care for others, while the use and significance of tea utensils and attire underscore the aesthetic and cultural value of tea ceremony.


The integration of traditional tea ceremony with modern society plays a crucial role in its continuation and development. Tea ceremony maintains its significance and influence in contemporary society. It is increasingly favored as a means to achieve inner calm and relaxation. The modern innovations and adaptations within tea ceremony align it with the needs of modern society. The fusion of tea ceremony with aspects such as a healthy lifestyle and artistic creation infuses it with renewed allure and vitality.


The amalgamation of traditional tea ceremony and modern society not only enriches its essence and meaning, but also aligns it with the values of the modern world. This integration underscores the enduring relevance of tea ceremony and its ability to resonate with contemporary societal values.


As a unique cultural and artistic form, the tea ceremony still holds vast potential for research and development. Future studies on the tea ceremony can be conducted in several areas.


Firstly, the integration of the tea ceremony with scientific research. Tea ceremony research can incorporate modern scientific methods to explore scientific aspects such as the chemical composition of tea leaves and their health benefits. The rituals and meditation practices of the tea ceremony could be studied in conjunction with neuroscience and psychology to delve into the mechanisms through which the tea ceremony influences individuals' mental well-being.


Secondly, the development of the tea ceremony within the cultural and creative industries. As a distinct cultural and artistic form, the tea ceremony could be integrated with the cultural and creative industries to establish a brand and image for tea ceremony culture. The fusion of the tea ceremony with art forms like music, painting, and photography can yield more creative and appealing works.


Thirdly, international exchange and dissemination of the tea ceremony. As a representative of Chinese traditional culture, the tea ceremony can enhance understanding and awareness of it across different countries and regions through international exchanges and dissemination efforts. Organizing international tea ceremony exchange activities, tea ceremony cultural festivals, and tea art exhibitions can contribute to the internationalization of the tea ceremony.


In conclusion, the tea ceremony, as a traditional form of tea art performance, encompasses rich content and value in its history, philosophy, rituals, and artistry. The integration of traditional tea ceremony with modern society has preserved its unique status and influence. Future research and development in the field of tea ceremony will continue to explore its integration with science, cultural and creative industries, and international exchanges, injecting new vitality and momentum into its inheritance and innovation. The allure and value of the tea ceremony are bound to receive broader dissemination and recognition in the future.



This research was supported by Cuixi Academy of Biotechnology, Zhuji. We would like to express our sincere gratitude for their generous funding and support.



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Journal of Tea Science Research
• Volume 13
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