Mount Huangshan is considered one of the greatest natural sites in the world. Nowadays people from home and abroad come to Huangshan to enjoy its fantastic scenery. But before Mount Huangshan became a well-known tourist attraction, some local products have long been famous, such as tea, the four treasures of the study and luopan (Feng Shui Compass).
Keemun Black Tea
Keemun is a traditional famous black tea of China, produced in Qimen County of Huangshan City. It features thin twigs of sleek black color and luster, red and clear broth with a mellow and refreshing taste, and a fruity smell like that of honey or apple.
Of all the China black teas available Keemun Panda is probably one of the best known. Keemun is one of the congou-type teas; meaning it requires a great deal of gongfu (disciplined skill), to make into fine taut strips without breaking the leaves. Interestingly the characters in the written Chinese script for time and labor are the same as those used for 'gongfu'. It is often said that a properly produced Keemun such as Panda, is one of the finest teas in the world with a complex aromatic and penetrating character often compared to burgundy wines. Traditionally keemuns were used in English Breakfast tea.
In the early 1800's tea was such the rage in England there was a danger that the British treasury would be drained because all the silver was being used to pay the Chinese for tea. The Chinese did not need textiles, one of Britain's main exports - so what to do??? India and Burma produced significant quantities of opium and in due course China became a major market. The economic circle that evolved was as follows: Opium from India was sent to the British merchants stationed in Canton, China. The Chinese paid for this in silver and the merchants received credits against debts in England. This silver was then used to pay the Chinese for their tea. This practice lead to wars between England and China - called The Opium Wars. The British won the last war in 1860 which led to opium being a legal commodity in China until 1908 when it was finally outlawed.
Keemun black tea was only produced after 1875 - against the grain of the Chinese practice of producing green teas. But, the English palate was finely attuned to fine black tea and with virtually unrestricted trade of opium and tea, Keemun rapidly became an English staple, notwithstanding that keemuns were particularly flavorful and full bodied. Perhaps this interest in keemun also came about as some have described the taste and aroma of keemun's as reminiscent of toast hot from the oven - another British tradition. Keemun is one of the best-keeping black teas. Fine specimens will keep for years if stored properly and take on a mellow character similar to wine.
Huangshan Maofeng Green Tea
Huangshan Maofeng is a world-famous and best-quality tea, grown in
the mountains over 700 meters above sea level within Mt. Huangshan Scenic
Spot area which has fertile soil, cool temperatures, plenty of precipitation
and a lingering fragrance of flowers. The tea has a unique quality and
sends forth a lasting fragrance largely due to its growing environment,
its sturdy buds and the consummate skills in picking and processing.
Huangshan Maofeng strongly resembles birds’ tongues in shape,
with bright luster and verdant and soft yellow colors.
Huangshan Maofeng, which is graded according to its quality, entered the tea market of London, Paris and Southeast Asian countries as early as 1976, becoming world famous. It was listed as a National Famous Tea at the Tea Appraisal Meeting held in Changsha in 1982.
See more about Huangshan Maofeng Green Tea
Taiping Houkui Green Tea
Taiping Houkui is one of the best-quality famous teas in the category
of Pointed Tea among Hongqing teas, produced in Houkeng, Hougang and
Yan village of Xinming Township. It is called Taiping Houkui for its
superior quality, for ‘Kui ’in Chinese means the best or
The tea leaf is olive-green color and has a straight shape with slightly pointed ends, exuding a charming and pleasant fragrance like that of orchids.
Houkui won a gold medal at the Panama International Fair in 1915, and many other gold medals at home and abroad.
The Four Treasures of the Study (Wen Fang Si Bao)
Four stationery items, indispensable to any Chinese scholar and calligraphy
practitioner, are the brush pen, inkstick, paper and inkstone. They
are main tools with which one carries out ones scholarly work, calligraphy
and/or traditional Chinese painting. For this reason, they are called
the "four treasures of the study" - Wen Fang Si Bao.
It is only through these tools that the beauty of Chinese art receives
Huizhou (former name of today's Huangshan City) has long been a renowned production center of Wen Fang Si Bao since the Tang Dynasty. The painting and writing items made here are Sheyan Inkstone, Huimo Inkstick, Cheng Paper and Wanbi Writing Brush. They all were of high quality and well-known in the past, adored and regarded highly by scholars, artists, officials, and even emperors. But now only two items of the four are still remaining, the Huimo Ink-stick and the Sheyan Inkstone. These two stools are must-haves for current day traditional Chinese painters and calligraphers.
Click here for more detailed information on the Huimo Ink-stick and Sheyan Inkstone.
Feng Shui Compass (luopan) Made In Wan'an
Although the magnetic needle was known to the Chinese for over 3000
years, it was not until the Warring States Period (475 –221 BC)
that a kind of Luopan for direction and time called “Si Nan“
was invented. Then"Si Nan" changed into "Si Pan"
in the Han Dynasty.
An increase in the maritime activities during the Song Dynasty (960-1279AD) led to further development of the magnetic compass.
A dramatic change in the design of the Luopan took place during the South Song Dynasty (1127-1279AD). The Correct Needle was combined with the Seam Needle to create the forerunner of the Luopan. From then on, Luopan is mainly for divination of Fengshui, that's why it's called the Fengshui Compass.
Wooden luopan is only made in Wan'an Town, Xiu'ning County, Huangshan City. For hundrads of years, Wan'an luopan has been famous at home and abroad due to its fine and accurate craftsmanship. There are many types of luopan made at Wan'an, of them are three major categories: San He luopan, San Yuan luopan and Zhong He luopan.
There used to be three outstanding luopan workshops, namely Wu lu-heng, Fang xiu-shui and Hu ru-yi. One luopan made by Wu lu-heng is still on display at the China History Museum. During the Anti-Japanese War, only Wu lu-heng Workshop survived, but all were banned during the culture revolution. All three renewed production in the 1980s and 1990s, and now attract many tourists and dealers from home and abroad.
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