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Chá — the Portuguese way of tea

Chá — the Portuguese way of tea

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Published by Ricardo Mealha

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: Ricardo Mealha on Feb 06, 2009
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05/12/2010

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Ch\u00e1 Gorreana tea plantations and factory, S\u00e3o Miguel, Azores
CH\u00c1 \u2013 the Portuguese way of tea
Alexandre Lousadahttp://alexlousada.wordpress.com/
After 1543, Portuguese traders sailed to Japan opening a new era of economic development

and causing the expansion of the Japanese middle class of merchants.
These Portuguese traders were called nambam (meaning \u201csouthern barbarian\u201d).
During the period ruled by Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582), the style of samurai castles became

more flamboyant and colorful with the incorporation of European designs.
These European elements were architectural, furniture or clothes and the style copied by the
emerging middle class.
The daimyo tea master Furuta Oribe (1543-1615) also assimilated the nambam style in his
works of pottery and tea aesthetics became more diverse.
In 1546, the merchant Jorge \u00c1lvares stayed in Kagoshima and was the first European to
describe the all year Japanese habit of drinking \u201chot water mixed with herbs\u201d.
In 1565, the missionary Lu\u00eds de Fr\u00f3is (1532-1597) reported from Miyako the same Japanese
habit of drinking hot water \u201cas hot as they can stand it\u201d during all year.

However, in the same year, another missionary Lu\u00eds de Almeida, with medical training,
described in a more detailed way in a letter the Japanese tea as \u201ca certain boiled herb, which
is called ch\u00e1 and which is tasty to anybody getting used to drinking it\u201d. It also gave a detailed
description of its significance and value. The word ch\u00e1, meaning tea, entered in the
Portuguese vocabulary.

In 1570 Nagasaki was established as a Portuguese trading post where, among other products,
Chinese silk was exchanged with Japanese silver.

During this period the missionaries became more interested in tea drinking due to its
important role in the Japanese etiquette. After the visit in 1579-1582 of Alessandro
Valignano, the Italian religious superior of Jesuit missionaries in Japan, all Jesuit residences
had to have a tea room chanoyu to welcome guests for the purpose of greater assimilation of
Japanese habits.

The Jesuit Jo\u00e3o Rodrigues was the most fluent in Japanese language and concerning the tea
understanding, he was influenced by Rikyu\u00b4s way of thought.

He met him personaly and was in contact with important tea practitioneers of the time, that were christians, and contacted frequently Rikyu\u00b4s disciples. He also had his own tea room at Nagasaki.

Jo\u00e3o Rodrigues wrote the book \u201cThis Island of Japon\u201d with four chapters concerning tea
and the tea ceremony.

In his other book \u201cArte breve da lingoa Iapoa\u201d, a revised Japanese grammer published in
Macao in 1620 for Japanese language students, a primary focus was given to technical
phrases related to tea and suki, considered culturaly more important than the other arts like
drama, poetry and classical writing.

By this time the word ch\u00e1 was already established in the Portuguese language as well as its knowledge. In 1626 the Jesuit Ant\u00f3nio de Andrade, in what was the first contact between European and Tibetans, reported about their tea with the full recognition of being tea.

Further in 1631, another Jesuit in Tibet, Francisco de Azevedo, described their tea as an herb provenient from China and the beverage appreciated in the same way as in China and Japan, although with the difference of being mixed with butter and milk. He also wrote about the concept of honor behind the drinking of tea and its healthy effects.

Depiste the fact of the Portuguese being the first Europeans to have the knowledge about tea
and privileged contacts with Chinese and Japanese since 16 century, the Dutch were
established in Japan since 1610 and were the ones responsible to trade tea into Europe and to
expand its consume among the European elite.

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