The Only Constant is Change

Throughout its history in China, Gongfu Cha had always been the domain of the rich and learned. Gongfu Cha was a tradition of the literati: monks, Mandarins[1], and merchants (from earliest to latest) with the time, resources, and education[2] to create a cultural tradition that grew into the practice of today. These upper-class practitioners had the social capital to learn the tradition from others and spread it to those who could appreciate it[3].  The interests of the upper-class practitioners of tea ceremony encompassed the “related arts” of poetry, calligraphy, and ceramics[4]; these arts were already preferred by the practitioner base and became linked to the practice through tea gatherings and the cultural capital-building activity of high-social capital individuals. Linking what are now considered to be the related arts to Chinese Tea Ceremony was cultural capital-building as tea held the lower status; poetry, calligraphy, and ceramics held more cultural capital and formed part of the classical education of the upper-class, leading advanced practitioners of Gongfu Cha to adopt, adapt, and incorporate the other arts into their practice in an attempt to borrow cultural capital from the contemporaneous high arts.

This page is for paying subscribers only

Learn About Subscriber Benefits

Already have an account? Log in