Thursday, June 18, 2009

Jumping Fish & Beige Bei Dian

What's under these qingbai singing cups? These are Bei Dian (杯墊) or cup mat/saucer. They are made of 2 quilting fabrics sewn together so that they have 2 different sides.
(Size : 11.5 x 11.5 cm = 4.5 inches approximately)

I've made these with the same 2 fabrics as the Jumping Fish Cha Bu: a light earth color beige on one side and the jumping fish on the other side.

This drawing tells the legend of the carp that really wanted to transform into a dragon. And as it swims against the current, it jumps over a waterfall. The picture seizes this moment when the carp is in the air and about to become a dragon. (Hat tip to Kim, a reader, who told me that this story from his study of the Japanese tea ceremony). It's a nice symbol to reflect upon over a cup of tea: the pursuit of our dreams and personal transformation.
(Also, fish is a symbol of abundance and prosperity for the Chinese).

Above, I've used these Bei Dian on the black side of another Cha Bu. It's also possible to use it with its matching Cha Bu. This allows many combinations, each with its own mood. The black background is more stylish, while a beige background (see below) would be nice for a Ming style Cha Xi.

(2009 Spring 'Lily flower' Baozhong in the cup)


Marilyn Miller said...

Like seeing the bei dian, something new for me to see.

TeaMasters said...

Probably also something you could do, even though this shape is too easy. However, it's really a very convenient accessory: it absorbs some water, is quiet when you put your cup on it and is a pleasure to watch and feel.

Laura Schaefer said...

Thanks for sharing these photos. Lovely.