Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Qingbai Singing cup - coupe chantante

This blog has often discussed the impact of the tea cup on the feel of the tea. Color, thickness of the cup, shape... have an impact on tea. This is not something particular to tea. Wine glasses are well known to have different shapes for different wines. This cup has one of the most classic shape I can think of.

I don't have any 'hard information' concerning its history, so I'll give you the poetic legend provided by the potter making this cup: "The singing cup dates from the Sung dynasty. A devoted Taoist dreamed of several cups on a table. The god of fortune told him that if someone poured wine or tea in this cup and gently rubbed the edge of the cup with his finger, the cup would sing. The god of fortune would hear this sound and make your dreams come true. After waking up, this person hired craftsmen and it took them several years to produce the cup he had seen in his dream. The walls were so thin that it would indeed produce a sound. When the emperor heard about it, he ordered that the singing cups be only used at the imperial court."

The color of this cup is Qingbai (Qing stands for green, celadon and bai for white). So it's close to white with a touch of green. You can see the singing cup above left. On the right are 2 celadon cups. Below left is a completely white cup. A low oxidized Oolong is inside these cups. The tea looks a little yellow in the small white cup, green in the Qingbai cup and very green in the celadon cups.

One cup weighs only 43 grams. It holds around 4 to 5 cl when filled normally and 8 cl when filled to the top. The walls are so thin and the angle of the rim leaves a space for the lips to rest comfortably on the smooth glazed surface. It gives a feeling of lightness that is almost completely opposite to my celadon cups. Therefore, it fits light teas (High Mountain Oolongs, young raw puerhs, green teas) particularly well.

And if you want to hear it sing, just play the video below:


Cette coupe chantante est un nouvel ajout à ma sélection. Fine et légère, elle convient particulièrement bien aux thés les plus légers (Oolongs de haute montagne, puerhs crus jeunes, thés verts). Elle pèse 43 grammes et contient 4-5 cl remplie de manière normale et 8 cl à ras bord. Elle coûte autant qu'une coupe peinte à la main.

10 comments:

bejita said...

elle me fait penser au couvercle d'un zhong ..., sinon , par sa " finesse" elle parait bient pour les thés peux oxidés effectivement .

Anonymous said...

Il n'y a pas de vidéo !! Dommage ....
Est-elle légèrement transparente ?

Hélène

Stephane said...

Sorry. The video appears not to be working. Strangely, it works when I do a preview of my article before posting. I will try something else.
Oui, vu qu'elle est tellement fine, la coupe est un peu transparente.

Bertrand said...

Oui elle est superbe cette tasse! J'en ai une aussi que Yi Chun (TeaHome) m'a gentiment offerte. Je l'ai faite chanter de la même manière qu'un verre à Champagne.

Michel said...

43 grammes pour cette taille, je ne pense pas qu'on puisse trouver encore plus leger! merveilleux.

Karen said...

These are lovely, Stéphane--so elegant!

Love 4 Teas said...

these are some very nice tea cups. The singing tea cup is also very intersting

Bruno said...

Formidable, mon bol chantant tibétain répondra !

Tea in Cairo said...

Je confirme, ces coupes sont magnifiques, et je recommande chaudement de les utiliser avec les gao shan cha.

Je suis en train de boire un da yu ling fruity (superbe thé, mais je le dis un peu tard pour que ça soit un scoop!) dans cette tasse en écrivant, et c'est vraiment magnifique. La liqueur tombe en bouche comme si elle était portée par l'air, tant la coupe est fine et légère.

Je préfère des contenants plus grands pour les puerhs, mais pour les gao shan ces coupes sont magiques.

. kali said...

Ooh... I have a pair of singing cups; they are white porcelain with charming blue carp (or some other fish) handpainted on the inside. I bought them 2 years ago in Taiwan, as it turns out; they came in a box and with a little information card that recounts that same legend (but a little wordier) in both english and chinese. In addition, it says the following about the cups' physical properties:

"The thickness of the singing cup is almost similar to paper. The shape of the cup must have an angle of 45degrees. The material must use porcelain clay come from mountains and the procedure needs high temperature as 1260degreesC. Because of the complicated procedure, the losing rate is quite high. The singing cup was collected and enjoyed by the people who can discern because of its difficult production and unusual function."

Today I googled "singing cup" in hopes that I could find some to purchase (I recently started drinking more tea). Your post was one of the first hits! Sadly, it doesn't seem that singing cups are very popular/available online (on English-language pages, in any case). I only got one hit for an actual retail product. The shape is, strangely, different from our cups (more like a simple inverted cone, rather than curved with just the rims at 45degrees). Most mysterious!