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The Australian National University

China Heritage Project

The China Heritage Project provides a focus for university-wide research on traditional China, its modern interpretations and recent scholarship. Under the direction of Geremie R Barmé, the Project advocates a 'New Sinology' that builds on traditional Sinological strengths while emphasizing a robust engagement with the complex and shifting realities of contemporary China.

The Project produces the e-journal China Heritage Quarterly. The other major related publication is East Asian History, a refereed journal edited by Benjamin Penny and produced twice annually. A continuation of Papers on Far Eastern History which dates back to the 1970s, East Asian History features research on countries throughout East Asia and highlights academic quality and visual culture in its conceptualization and design.

The Project, as well as the two journals, operate under the aegis of the Australian Centre on China in the World.

China Heritage Quarterly Latest Issue

Issue 29 (May 2012)

Tea 茶


When the empire is peaceful, Sichuan is the first to have a rebellion;
When order is established in the empire, Sichuan is still in chaos.

Tea and politics, teahouses and activism, gathering and gossiping, all of these things mark the life of tea in China's largest inland empire, that of Sichuan 四川. Given the dramatic events of the first months of the Dragon Year of 2012, an ancient saying about the restive nature of what was once the Kingdom of Shu 蜀 would appear to be an appropriate place to launch our issue-length meditation on tea.

As the Guest Editor of this issue Daniel Sanderson points out, this is the first time 'China Heritage Quarterly' has focussed on a tangible consumer item, and it is a product, a drink and a status symbol that encompasses elements both democratic and autocratic. A few leaves brewed or steeped in boiling water create one of the most ubiquitous elements of everyday life in China. But the varieties and qualities of tea provide an equally unparalleled vehicle for the more noxious aspects of social behaviour, a civilizing process that relies on distinctions and discrimination.

This issue of 'China Heritage Quarterly' casts its net back in time to bring together material from Chinese and non-Chinese sources related to tea and its rich heritage. We also delve into the beclouded waters of the contemporary world of the Chinese Internet in pursuit of our topic. In doing so we have benefitted greatly from the advice and guidance of many friends, colleagues and tea aficionados in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Europe, North America and Australia.

Geremie R. Barmé
Editor, 'China Heritage Quarterly'

Further reading

New Sinology

Updated:  14 May 2012/Responsible Officer:  Director, China in the World /Page Contact:  China in the World