According to Chinese legend, tea was born in 2727 BC, when the Emperor Shen Nong was purifying water in the shelter of a tea tree, and several leaves blew into the pot. The resulting brew, of superb fragrance, color and taste, made the emperor rejoice. Tea soon became a daily drink in Chinese culture.
In India, another legend tells the story of Prince Dharma, who left his homeland for China, to preach Buddhism. He vowed not to sleep during his 9–year mission. Toward the end of his third year, when he was overtaken by fatigue, he grabbed a few leaves of a tea shrub and chewed them up. They gave him the strength necessary to stay awake for the remaining 6 years of his mission.
The Japanese version of this story has the exhausted Bodi Dharma falling asleep, however. Upon awakening, he was so disgusted with himself, he tore off his eyelids, to ensure that they would never inadvertently close again. The place where he threw them on the ground produced enchanted (tea) shrubs with leaves having the power to keep eyelids open.
Photo by Anna Williams
Prop styling by Amy Wilson
Article collected from [cntraveler].