January 7, 2014

0949 CHINA (Sichuan) - A teahouse in Chengdu

A teahouse is an establishment which primarily serves tea and other light refreshments, and, even if its function varies widely depending on the culture, it often serves also as center of social interaction. In China, a teahouse is traditionally similar to the American cafe. People gather at teahouses to chat, socialize, and enjoy tea, and young people often meet at teahouses for dates. Tea culture in China differs from that of Europe, Britain or Japan in such things as preparation methods, tasting methods and the occasions for which it is consumed. Even now, in both casual and formal Chinese occasions, tea is consumed regularly.

Located in the fertile Chengdu Plain, a true land of abundance, Chengdu is one of the most important economic and transportation centers in Western China, but also an officially recognised UNESCO City of Gastronomy, famous for its spicy dishes. Known for its carefree lifestyle, it outnumbers Shanghai in the number of teahouses and bars, despite having less than half the population. With over a thousand years of history, Chinese tea culture is perhaps best exemplified by the bamboo chairs and wooden tables found in the hundreds of teahouses, with jasmine tea being served as the local staple. As early as the Western Han period, both tea trade and tea culture were very prosperous in Sichuan with Chengdu as the starting point of the Southern Silk Road.

Modern tea houses can be spotted on almost every city corner. Besides tea, pastries and snacks, almost all tea houses offer Majiang sets, tables, and sometimes separate majiang rooms. Most locals go to tea houses to play majiang with friends. Some luxury tea houses in Chengdu also offer live entertainment such as Sichuan opera shows. Every teahouse has its own character, sometimes shown in its modern or old-style decor, or in its recreational theme like games of chess. But their relaxing atmospheres are perfect for forgetting the time and soaking in the chatter of Chengdu.

About the stamp
The stamps is part of a series of greetings stamps, about which I wrote here. On the face of the postcard is a label of China Post, about which I don't know anything.

Tea house - Wikipedia
Chengdu - Wikipedia

Sender: Liang Liming / LLM (postcrossing)
Sent from Rongshui (Guangxi / China), on 22.12.2013

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