Both tea and alcohol in traditional China were similarly aestheticized, and both influenced the language of literature and art. People used to exchange alcohol as a gift in a way that they later would with tea. Today, more and more cities in China have embraced this drinking culture that passed down from generation to generation, and reinterpreted with a new contemporary fashion, which is constantly evolving in the urban cafes and bars.
Teahouse: The Latest Architecture and News
Chashitsu, which is the Japanese term for a teahouse or tea room is a construction specifically designed for holding the Tea Ceremony, a traditional Japanese ritual in which the host prepares and serves tea for guests. Teahouses are usually small, intimate wooden buildings, where every detail is intended to help withdraw the individual from the material disturbances of the world.
Travel seven hours by car in a Southwest direction from Shanghai and you will arrive in Songyang County. The name is unfamiliar to many Chinese people, and even more foreign to those living abroad. The county consists of about 400 villages, from Shicang to Damushan.
Here, undulating lush green terraces hug the sides of Songyin river valley, itself the one serpentine movement uniting the lands. Follow the river and you will see: here, a Brown Sugar Factory; there, a Bamboo Theatre; and on the other side, a stone Hakka Museum built recently but laid by methods so old, even the town masons had to learn these ways for the first time, as if they were modern methods, as if they were revolutionary.
And maybe they are. Songyang County, otherwise known as the “Last Hidden Land in Jiangnan,” may look like a traditional Chinese painting with craggy rock faces, rice fields and tea plantations, but it has also become a model example of rural renaissance. Beijing architect Xu Tiantian, of the firm DnA_Design and Architecture, has spent years surveying the villages of Songyang, talking to local County officials and residents, and coming up with what she calls “architectural acupunctures.”