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.