(Text by Reporter Yuan Wenjun/ Photo by Reporter Xiao Mingliang) On the morning of June 1, the 25th Shanghai International Tea Culture Tourism Festival in 2018 was held at Shanghai Exhibition Center. Fang Huiping, Vice Chairman of the CPPCC Shanghai Municipal Committee, and district leaders An Lusheng, Li Weiping, Chen Yongdi and Zhou Haiying attended the opening ceremony. This time, the Tea Culture Tourism Festival themed “Tea, Taste the High-quality Life”, converging enterprises in the tea industry from over 50 tea-producing areas in China including Zhejiang, Guizhou, Hubei and Yunnan, and exhibitors from different countries such as Laos, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Belgium. The 4-day exhibition offered over 200 booths in a 7100-square-meter exhibition area.
Stepping into the exhibition hall on the second floor, a 15-meter-long tea table was in sight, followed by beautiful flowers, tasteful tea and exquisite tea sets one after another, which seemed like a beautiful long ancient painting scroll with views changing as people walk. During the exhibition period, while tasting the tea and enjoying its pleasant smell, the audiences could also learn and experience the more lively and colorful connotation of tea culture. On the afternoon of June 3, Liu Qiuping, the “First Person Who Implements Tea Banquet in China”, also shared the mysterious aesthetics of tea banquet, telling the audiences how to choose different food ingredients and derive hundreds of exquisite and artistic dishes from them according to the quality of different tea.
The exhibition this time used “tea” as a medium to build three major art exhibition areas including “The Art of Flower”, “The Art of Tea” and “The Art of Painting”. Mr. Liang Shengfang, a Chinese master of flower arrangement and flower art, showed his skill in flower arrangement on site. High and low, sparse and dense, the flowers let the audiences feel the ultimate artistic conception of oriental tea ceremony and flower arrangement. Mrs. Liu Meiling, a well-known Shanghai-style painting artist who paints cheongsam, brought the audiences a free-hand sketch garment show with great classical appeal in the exhibition area called “The Art of Painting”, combining the techniques of oil painting, Chinese painting and embroidery while preserving the features of Shanghai-style handmade cheongsam to change the simple garments into unique artworks. In the life experience area of the 24 solar terms, the audiences could participate in and experience cultural activities of various kinds with great oriental appeal including the special seminar of Yijin Jing, the special seminar of solar terms and preserving health with diet and the special seminar of Guqin. In the exhibition this time, multiple Chinese traditional cultural activities built an all-round experience area of Chinese traditional culture for the audiences to engage them with fun, letting them build a healthy body and also improve their spirits with the help of tea.
In the beginning of this year, as one of the featured parts of the exhibition this time, the “Shanghai Fashion Cup” E-era Tea Package Innovative Design Contest started. After the appraisal and selection of more than 5 months, the result of the contest was unveiled at the opening ceremony of the Tea Culture Tourism Festival. The work Having Tea Occasionally won the first place in the contest by an extremely simple and refreshing design style and the metaphor of the young’s life vision of hoping to be able to have tea together occasionally; the work The Extremely White White Tea Constellation Series combined characters with different features and the character-revealing quotes of the twelve constellations of the zodiac, making the tea leaves independent with real personalities; there were also more excellent designs with great ideas on package designs and ways of drinking, all making the tea culture better fitting the living attitude and consumption concept of the young people living in cities.
There were both up-and-coming newcomers and masters making their grand appearances in the festival. At this year’s Tea Culture Tourism Festival, Chen Youjian, a well-known Hong Kong design master brought the audiences a 300-square-meter individual exhibition area of tea culture— “Relating to Tea by Fate”. The huge bird cage of about 5 meters tall captured the attention of numerous audiences from a far distance. Chen Youjian explained that Relating to Tea by Fate was an experience about and a relation between the people and the tea, the substances and the space. In the scene of the Cantonese living in the 1950s having tea, teasing the birds while tasting the tea was still popular in restaurants, and having tea was a life status combining tea art and spirit, from which he drew the inspiration of designing the bird cage. Matched with devices stimulating the bamboo forest in Kyoto, the bird cage built a green and quite Zen-training artistic conception. As soon as step into the bird cage, people would have a feel of being surrounded by the bamboo forest in Kyoto. It would be good to slow down and enjoy the peace for a while, and to experience the Tai Koon Yuen of design and art. Around the bird case, there were also four “Towers of Wisdom” exhibiting over 400 pieces of tea-related design works by Mr. Chen Youjian during his forty-year career, and tea sets collected from all over the world. The tea culture with a history of thousands of years has made more young people taste the tea, love the tea and understand the tea culture through trendy packages and fashionable designs, leading a new consumption concept and a new way of living in Shanghai.