|Title: “BI LUO CHUN”
(Meaning, “green snail spring tea” and pronounced, “bye lou-oh chun”)
Size: 27.875” W x 27.5” H (unframed)
Centuries ago, in the mountains above Lake Tai Hu there was a tea whose fragrance was discovered almost by accident. Pickers trying to carry more leaves filled their baskets, then stuffed their tunics to carry as much as possible down the mountain. Their body heat generated a fruity aroma, but the pickers afraid of what they had done called the tea, “Xia Sha Ren Xiang” or “aroma that scares humans.” One day in the late seventeenth or eighteenth century, Emperor Kang Xi stopped in Jiangsu province and tasted the tea. When told the name of this tasty brew, he quickly said it was too vulgar and named it “Bi Luo Chun” or green snail tea which its rolled shape mimicked a snail shell. And an emperor’s tea this is, as it takes 68,000 – 74,000 leaves to create 1 pound.
Acrylic paint and gold leaf on heavy watercolor paper, veiled over with hand-made Japanese rice lace, bathed in a mixture of archival beeswax and UV-resistant polymers, bordered with wood-wrapped insets of silk brocade from the legendary mills of Varanasi, India, surrounded with gold-leafed and acid-washed Japanese oil paper, adorned with 4 rare Chinese Kuana-Ting coins from the Ting Cheng mint (1208 – 1224AD), and at right with a rare Song Dynasty (1011 – 1041AD) Chinese iron belt buckle, with ancient figures and flower with open work.