Engelbert Kaempfer: The History of Japan, London 1727

Internet Edition by Wolfgang Michel, Kyushu University, Fukuoka-City, Japan. © Nov.1997



I. The Natural History of the Japanese Tea; with an accurate description of that Plant, its culture, growth, preparation, and uses.

I am sensible, that some will think it superfluous and needless to write the Natural History of Tea, after that prolix and accurate description of this Plant, which hath been given by Dr. William ten Rhyne, my much honoured friend, and worthy predecessor in the same station in Japan; and which was publish'd by the learned Dr. Breynius in the Appendix to his Century of Exotic Plants (printed at Dantzick in 1678.) But as that inquisitive Gentleman did not stay so long in the Country as myself; and besides, leading a much more retired Life, did not meet with the same opportunities of enquiring into all the particulars relating to this plant, 'tis no wonder that he omitted several circumstances, which I thought too material not to be communicated to the publick, and therefore, chose rather to repeat what hath been already said by him, to add what he hath omitted, and thus at once to give a full and compleat account of so remarkable a Plant.

The Botanical description of the Tea Plant


Thea frutex folio Cerasi, flore Rosae sylvestris, fructu unicocco, bicocco, & ut plurimum tricocco.


This Shrub grows but slowly, and rises to a fathom's height, and higher. It hath a black, woody, irregularly branched root. The rising stem soon spreads into many irregular branches and twigs. The bark is dry, thin, weak, chesnut-colour'd, greyish on the stem, and something inclined to green on the extremities of the twigs. The wood is hardish and fibrous: The pith very small, sticking close to the wood. The branches are irregularly beset with leaves standing on very small footstalks, which would not drop off if they were not plucked, (the Plant being an Evergreen,) and in substance, shape, colour and size, resemble, when full grown, the leaves of the Cerasus hortensis fructu acido, but when young and tender, and gather'd for use, come nearest to the leaves of the Euonymus vulgaris granis rubris, the colour only excepted. Ex alis foliorum come forth the flowers, in autumn, one or two together, not unlike wild Roses, an inch or something more in diameter, with very little smell, white, hexapealous, or composed of six round hollow petala, or leaves, standing on footstalks half an inch long, which from a small slender beginning insensibly grow larger, and end in an uncertain number, commonly five or six, of small round squamae, or leaves, which serve instead of the Calyx. To the flowers succeed the fruits in great plenty, being unicapsular, bicapsular, but more commonly tricapsular, like the seed-vessels of the Ricinus, composed of three round Capsulae, of the bigness of wild plums, grown together to one common footstalk, as to a Center, but distinguish'd by three pretty deep partitions. Each Capsula contains a husk, nut, and seed. The husk is green, inclining to black, when ripe, of a fat, membranous, and somewhat woody substance, opake, and gaping on its upper surface after a year's standing, for the nut, which lies within, to appear. The nut is almost round, on one side only, where the three Capsulae grow together, somewhat compress'd, cover'd with a thin hardish, shining, chesnut-colour'd shell, which, being crack'd, discovers a reddish kernel, of a firm substance like filberds, of a sweetish not very agreeable taste at first, which soon grows rougher and bitter, like that of the Cherry seeds, making people spit plentifully, and being very nauseous, when they fall down into the throat, which ill taste how ever goes soon off. (See TAB. XXXVIII. wheerein are represented twoe branches of the Tea shrub, with the flower, seedvessels, and seeds; and a view of the whole shrub, as it is figured by the Japanese in their own printed Herbals.)


The Tea, which is by the Japanese call'd Tsjaa, and by the Chinese Th&eaigue;h, hath, as yet, no character of its own, in the learned language of the country, and approved of by the universities; I mean one of those, which, at once give some idea of the very nature of the things express'd by them. Mean while various other characters have been given to it; some of which merely express the sound of the word, others allude to the virtues and description of the Plant. Of the latter kind is that, which represents the eyebrows of Darma, an eminent Saint among the Heathens. It will not be improper here to insert the history of this man, not only as it is pleasant and singular in its kind, but chiefly as it serves to ascertain the time, when, according to the Japanese this Plant first came in use.
Its denomination.
Darma was the third son of Kasiuwo, an Indian king. He was a holy and religious person, as it were a Pope in the Indies, and the eight and twentieth successor on the holy See of Siaka, the Founder of the Eastern Paganism? who was an Indian himself, and a Negro, born one thousand twenty-eight years before our Saviour's nativity. About the year of Christ 519. this Darma came into China: His design was to bring the inhabitants of that populous Empire to the knowledge of God, and to preach his Gospel and Religion to them, as the true and only one that would lead them to Salvation. Nor was it only with his doctrine, that he endeavour'd to make himself useful to Men, and acceptable unto God. He went still farther, and strove for Divine Grace, by leading an austere and exemplary life, exposing himself to all the injuries of the weather, chastizing and mortifying his body, and subduing the passions of his mind: He lived only upon vegetables, and thought this to be the highest degree of Holiness, to pass days and nights in an uninterrupted Satori, that is, a contemplation of the Divine Being. To deny all manner of rest and relaxation to the body, and to consecrate the mind entirely, and without intermission, to God, was what he took to be the sincerest repentance, and most eminent degree of perfection humane nature could attain to. After a continued waking of many years, he at last grew so weary of his fatigues and fasting, that he fell asleep. Awaking the next morning, and with sorrow remembring, that he had broke through his vow, he resolved to take to a sincere repentance; and, in the first place, lest the like accident should happen to him hereafter, he cut off both his eyebrows, as the instruments and ministers of his crime, and threw them upon the ground. Returning the next day to the place, where he had done this execution, he observed that, by a wonderful change, each Eyebrow was become a Shrub, and that very one, which is now call'd Tea, whose virtues and use were then as yet unknown to the world, no more than the Plant itself. Darma eating of the leaves of this Plant (whether fresh, or boil'd in water, is not known) found, with surprize, an uncommon joy and gladness to fill his breast, and his mind endowed with new strength and vigour to pursue his divine
meditations. This uncommon event, and the excellent virtues of the leaves of Tea, he forthwith discover'd to the multitudes of his disciples, together with the way of using them. After this manner it was, as the Japanese pretend, that this singular Plant, which for its great virtues can never be sufficiently commended, came first in use. And hence likewise it is, that since as yet it hath no settled character in the language of the learned, some have thought fit to express it by the Eyebrows of Darma. I have added the picture of this illustrious Saint, (Fig. 139) who is held in great veneration among the Heathen Nations in these Eastern parts of the world, with a reed under his feet, on which he is said to have travell'd over seas and rivers. Thus much concerning the name of this Plant.
History of Darma [p.4]


I have premised a short account of this Plant, only to give the Reader some preliminary idea of it: I proceed now to add some other particulars, still remaining to compleat its Botanical description. The stem seems sometimes to be composed of more branches at the lower end, and near the ground, than it really is; for several seeds being put together in one hole, it frequently happens, that two, three, or more shrubs grow up together, and so close to one another, as to be easily mistook for one by ignorant or less attentive people. It must be observed besides, that when the old and overgrown shrubs are cut down to the stem, which they commonly are after some years standing, new sets of branches and twigs shoot out from the remaining stem, thicker and much more numerous than they were before, and all nourished by the same root. The young shoots, as they come up the first year, either from the seed, or from the stem, after it hath been cut off, are always fewer in number, but fatter and larger than those which come after them. (Fig. 138, B.) They become branched in process of time. The bark is firm, and adheres closely to the wood. It is cover'd with a very thin skin, which sometimes loosens itself as the bark grows dry. This skin being removed, the bark appears, being of a greenish colour, much of the same smell with the leaves of the Hasle-Nut-Tree, only more disagreeable and offensive, and of a bitter, nauseous and adstringent taste. The wood is hard, composed of strong thick fibres, of a greenish colour, inclining to white, and of a very offensive smell, when green. The branches and twigs are many in number, growing without any order, slender, of different sizes, though short in the main, wanting those rings, which in trees and shrubs are the marks of the annual increase, very thick beset with single leaves, but without any order. Ex alis foliorum comes forth a small tender bud. On short, fat green foot-stalks, roundish and smooth on the back, but hollow and somewhat compressed on the opposite side stand the leaves, which are of a middle substance between membranous and fleshy, of several sizes, the larger being two inches long, and one inch broad, where broadest, or somewhat less: From a small beginning, they become roundish and broader, and [p.5]
then taper into a point, which is sharp: Some are of an oval shape, somewhat bent, and irregularly undulated lengthways, depress'd in the middle, with the extremities roll'd backwards: They are smooth on both sides, of a dirty dark green colour, which is somewhat lighter on the back, where the Nerves being raised pretty much, leave so many hollows, or furrows, on the opposite side, and serrated, the serrae, or teeth, being a little bent, hard, obtuse, and set close together, but of different sizes. They have one very conspicuous nerve in the middle, to which answers a deep furrow on the other side: It is branched out on each side into five, six, or seven thin transverse ribs, of different lengths, and bent backwards near the edges of the leaves. Some smaller veins run between the transverse ribs. The leaves, when fresh, have no smell at all, and are not altogether so ungrateful to the taste as the bark, being adstringent indeed, and bitterish, but not nauseous. They differ very much in substance, size and shape, which difference is owing to their age, and to the situation and nature of the soil, wherein the shrub is planted. Hence it is, that from the dried leaves, as they are imported into Europe, nothing can be conjectured about their shape or size. They would affect the head very much, if they were to be taken fresh, having something Narcotick in them, which intoxicates the animal spirits, and occasions a trembling convulsive motion in the nerves. This inebriating quality however they lose by being dried, and there remains only a virtue of gently refreshing the animal spirits. In autumn the branches are thick beset with flowers, which continue to grow till late in winter, and are composed of six petala, or leaves, one or two of which are generally, as it were by sickness, shrunk, falling far short of the largeness and beauty of the others. They are of a very ungrateful bitterish taste, which affects chiefly the basis of the tongue. Within the flower are many white Stamina, exceeding small, as in Roses, with yellow heads, in shape not unlike a Heart. I counted, in one flower, two hundred and thirty of these Stamina. The kernels within the fruit contain a great quantity of oil, and are very apt to grow rank, which is the reason, why there are scarce two in ten that will germinate, when sown. The natives make no manner of use neither of the flowers nor kernels; though I don't doubt, but that the kernels in particular would have a good effect in several distempers.

Supplement to the Botanical description.


I proceed now to what relates to the culture of the Tea shrub, beginning from the first planting of the seed. And, in the first place, I must observe, that no particular gardens or fields are allow'd it by the natives, but that it is cultivated only round the edges and borders of their other fields, without any regard had to the soil. Nor are the seeds planted in one continued row, which would make them grow up into hedges, but at some distance from each other, lest the shrubs should come in time, by their shadow, to hurt the growth of the fields, or, by growing too close, [p.6]
prove a hindrance to the plucking of the leaves. The seeds, as they are contain'd in their seed-vessels, are put into four or five inches deep holes, six at least, and twelve at most, in one hole; which number is requisite, because there is scarce one in four or five, that will germinate, the greatest part being nought, or grown rank, which they do in a very short time. This, I mean the seeds being so very apt to rot, is the reason, why the planting of this shrub in Europe hath been hitherto attended with so little success. However, in order to raise it, which it would be better to do in Italy, Spain or Sicily, than in the colder parts of Europe, I would advise, to get it planted in the Country, where it naturally grows, and in large pots, fill'd with its native soil, and so to bring it over, it being a matter of no great difficulty afterwards to transplant the young branches and twigs at pleasure: But still it must be consider'd, that Plants brought over after this manner, will not, with equal success, propagate their kind in Europe, because in their passage through the hot Eastern ocean, they are very liable to be attack'd with a sort of consumption, or wasting, which makes them lose their vital strength, insomuch that their seeds will scarce ever come to be ripe and fit for planting. But to return to the manner of cultivating the Tea in Japan: As the shrub rises, careful and industrious people will fatten the soil, where it grows, once a year, with human dung, mix'd with earth, which is neglected by others. It must be, at least, of three years growth, before the leaves are fit to be pluck'd, which it then bears in plenty, and very good ones. In seven years time, or thereabouts, the shrub rises to a man's height; but as it then grows but slowly, and bears but a few leaves, the way is to cut it down quite to the stem, having first gathered what few leaves it did bear. The next year many young twigs and branches grow out of the remaining stem, which bear such a plenty of leaves, as will abundantly make good the loss of the former shrub. Some deferr the cutting of them down to the stem, till they are of ten years growth.

Its Culture.


At the proper time for gathering the leaves, those persons, who have a great many shrubs, hire daily labourers, who make it their particular business, and are very dextrous at it. For as the leaves must not be tore off by handfuls, but carefully pluck'd, one by one, their own domesticks, not being used to this work, would scarce be able to gather three Catti's a man in a day's time, whereas these people, who are bred up to it, and must get their livelihood by it, will bring it to nine or ten. The leaves are not gather'd all at once, but at different times. Those who pluck their shrubs thrice a year, begin their first gathering towards the latter end of the month Songuats, which is the first month of the Japanese year, and begins with the new moon next preceding the Spring Equinox, whether it falls upon the latter end of February, or the beginning of March. The shrub then bears but a few leaves, which are very tender and young, and [p.7]@
not yet fully open'd as being scarce above two or three days growth. But these small and tender leaves are also reckoned the best of all, and because of their scarcity and price disposed of only to Princes and rich people, for which reason they are call'd Imperial Tea, and by some the flower of Tea. (I cannot but take notice in this place of a mistake of some authors, who asserted, that the petala of the flowers are gathered by the Japanese, and made use of in the very same manner as the leaves of the Plant itself: I found this upon enquiry to be absolutely false, and take the error to be owing either to the ignorance of travellers, or to a wrong application of the name of Tea flower, which, as I just now observ'd, hath been given to this particular and scarce sort of Tea.) The Theh Buu of the Chinese belongs to this same Class, I mean that true and good one, which is scarce and dear even in the Country. The second gathering, (and the first of those who gather but twice a year) is made in the second Japanese month, about the latter end of March, or the beginning of April: some of the leaves are then already come to perfection, others are but half grown, both are pluck'd off promiscuously, though afterwards, before they make them undergo the usual preparation, care is taken to sort them into Classes, according to their size and goodness. The leaves of this second gathering, which are not full grown, come nearest to those of the first gathering, for which they are frequently sold, and on this account separated with care from the coarser and larger ones The third (and second of others) and last gathering, which is also the most plentiful, is made in the third Japanese month, when the leaves are come to their full growth, both in number and largeness. Some neglect the two former gatherings, and entirely confine themselves to this. The leaves of this gathering are sorted again, according to their size and goodness, into different classes, which the Japanese call Itziban, Niban and Sanban, that is, the first, second and third, the last of which contains the coarsest leaves of all, which are full two months grown, and are the Tea commonly drank by the vulgar.
Gathering of the leaves.


Hence arises the distinction between the three chief sorts of Tea. The first sort contains only the youngest and tenderest leaves, or the very first buds. This sort, after it hath undergone a due preparation,
Different sorts of Tea.
is call'd Ficki Tsjaa, that is, ground Tea, because by grinding it is reduced into a powder, which they sip in hot water. The same sort is also call'd, Udsi Tsjaa, and Tacke Sacki Tsjaa, from some particular places, where it grows, and this is reckon'd preferable to others, partly for the goodness of the soil in those places, partly because it is gathered on shrubs of three years growth, when they are reputed to be in their greatest perfection. For it must be observed, that both the soil and age of the shrub contribute greatly towards the goodness, as well as the growth and largeness of the leaves, though as to the largeness, that cannot be always allowed a sufficient proof of their goodness, unless they be both large and tender, insomuch as the oldest [p.8]@
@and coarsest are also the largest. I have already observed, that the Theh Buu of the Chinese is the same with this. The leaves of the second sort are somewhat older, and fuller grown than those of the first. This is call'd
Ficki Tsjaa.
Tootsjaa, that is, Chinese Thea, because it is prepared after the Chinese manner. The Tea booth-keepers and Tea-merchants in Japan commonly subdivide this sort into four others, which differ both in their goodness and price. The first of these contains those leaves which are gather'd at the beginning of the spring, just when they appear, and when every young branch bears but two or three, and those generally not yet open, nor come to perfection. A Kin, foreigners call it a Catti, or a Dutch pound and a quarter of this sort, prepared, costs in Japan, if I, being a foreigner, was not misinform'd, a Siumome and more, or as foreigners call it, a Thail and more, or from ten to twelve silver Maas, that is from seventy to fourscore and four Dutch stuyvers, every Maas being reckon'd at seven stuyvers. The second sort contains oIder leaves, and fuller grown, which are gather'd not long after the first: A Catti of these comes to six or seven Maas of silver in the Country. The leaves of the third sort are still larger and older, and one Catti of these is sold for four or five Maas of silver. The greatest quantity of Tea, which is imported from China into Europe, and is sold in Holland for five, six or seven Gilders a pound, is of this third sort. The leaves, which make up the fourth sort, are gather'd promiscuously, and without regard to their size and goodness, at that time when every young branch is conjectur'd to bear about ten or fifteen leaves at farthest. A Catti of these comes to three Maas of silver, at which price it is sold by those people who cry it about the streets, it being that sort which the generality of the natives commonly drink. It must be observed, that the leaves, so long as they continue on the shrub, are subject to frequent and very quick changes, both with regard to their largeness and goodness, and that, if the proper time for gathering be neglected, they may in one night's time become worse by a great deal: But to proceed. The third chief sort is call'd Ban Tsjaa.
The leaves of the third and last gathering belong to this sort, when they are become too gross and course, and unfit to be prepared after the Chinese manner, (that is, to be dried in pans over the fire and curled.) These are design'd for the use of the vulgar, labourers and country people, no matter how prepared. The virtues are more fix'd in the gross leaves of this third sort, and will not be easily lost, neither by their lying exposed to the air, nor by being boil'd, whereas on the contrary the leaves of all the former sorts, by reason of the extreme volatility of those parts wherein their virtues consist, cannot, without considerable prejudice, lie exposed to the air any time, or undergo even a simple decoction.
Ban Tsjaa.
At the beginning of this Paragraph I have made a transitory mention of that particular sort of Tea, which is call'd Udsi Tsjaa, which I proceed now to give a more accurate account of, lest any thing should be omitted in my proposed history of this shrub. Udsi is a small town situate in a district of the same name, not far from the sea-coasts on one side, [p.9]
and from Miaco the capital City and Residence of the Ecclesiastical Hereditary Emperor of Japan, on the other. The climate of this place hath been observed to be, beyond others, favourable for the culture of the Tea shrub: Hence it is, that the Tea brought from thence is reckon'd the best in the Country. All the Tea which is drank at the Emperor's court, and in the Imperial family, is cultivated on a mountain of the same name with the town, and seated in the same district, which on this very account is become particularly famous. The chief Purveyor of Tea at the Imperial court hath also the inspection of this mountain, whither he sends his deputies to take care both of the culture of the shrub, and of the gathering and preparation of the leaves. The mountain itself is very pleasant to behold, and surrounded with a broad ditch to keep off men and beasts. The shrubs are planted as it were in walks, which are swept and clean'd every day, as well as the shrubs themselves, the keepers being obliged to take particular care, that no dirt be thrown on the leaves, for which reason also, and for a farther security, the shrubs are in several places inclosed with hedges. When the time of gathering the leaves draws near, and at least two or three weeks before, the persons who are to gather them must abstain from eating of fish, or any unclean food, lest, by the impurity of their breath, they should stain the leaves, and injure their goodness: So long as the gathering lasts, they must wash themselves twice or thrice a day, either in a hot bath, or in the river: Nor are they suffer'd to touch the leaves with their bare hands, but must pluck them with gloves on. The leaves being gather'd and prepared according to art, are put into paper bags, and these into larger earthen or porcellane pots, which, for the better preservation of the leaves, are fill'd with common Tea. Being thus pack'd up, the chief Surveyor of the works sends them up to court under a good guard, and with a numerous attendance, all out of respect for the supreme majesty of the Emperor. Hence arises the great price of this Imperial Tea, for computing all the charges of cultivating, gathering, preparing and sending it up to Court, one Kin or Catti amounts to no less than thirty or forty Siumome, or Thails, that is, forty-two or fifty-six crowns, or ounces of silver. Nay the chief Purveyor of Tea, in the accounts he lays before the Imperial Exchequer, is not ashamed to bring in the price of some of this Tea at one Obani, which is a gold coin worth about an hundred ounces of silver, and sometimes at an hundred Thails, or one hundred and forty ounces of silver. This will appear the less surprizing, if it be consider'd, that sometimes one pot of this Tea, containing no more than three or four Catti's, is sent up to Court with near two hundred people to attend it. In our audience at Court, as it is customary to treat us with Tea, I remember that one of the gentlemen then in waiting presented a dish to me, with the following compliment: Drink heartily, and with pleasure, for one dish costs one Itzebo. An Itzebo is a square gold coin, worth about one of our ducats, and a fourth part, (or about twelve or thirteen shillings English.)
Udsi Tsjaa more particuarly described.


I come now to the preparation of the leaves, which Preparation of consists in that the fresh gather'd leaves are dried, or roasted over the fire, in an iron pan, and, when hot, roll'd with the palm of the hand on a mat, till they become curl'd. Preparation of the leaves.
For by being thus roasted they are not only quickly dried, but also deprived of that malignant quality, which is so very offensive to the head, and thereby render'd fitter for the use of mankind, and by being roll'd, they are brought into a narrower compass, and consequently easier kept. They are prepared in the Tsiusi, as they call them, that is, publick roasting-houses, or laboratories, built for this very purpose, and contrived so, that every body may bring their leaves to be roasted: For most private persons are either ignorant of the manner of preparing them, or have not the necessary set of instruments for it. There are in these publick laboratories, 1. Several ovens, from five to ten or twenty, each three foot high, with a wide, flat, square or round iron pan at the top, whereof that side, which is just over the mouth of the oven, is bent upwards for the roaster, who stands on the opposite side, to stand secure from the fire, and to be able to turn the roasting leaves, there being no clefts round the edges of the pan, through which the smoke could come out. 2. A low, but very long table, (and more in large work-houses,) or rather several boards grosly glew'd together in form of a table, and cover'd with fine reed mats, on which the leaves are roll'd. 3. The workmen themselves, some of whom stand roasting by the ovens, others sit cross-leg'd by the tables to roll the leaves, as they come hot from the pan. The leaves must be roasted when fresh, for if they were kept but one night, they would turn black, and lose much of their virtue: For this reason they are brought to these roastinghouses the very same day they are gather'd. Particular care must be taken in gathering them not to let too many of them lie in a heap, and too long, lest they should begin to ferment, which they are very apt to do, and which would likewise destroy their quality: If any thing of this kind should happen, they must be forthwith spread loose on the ground and fanned, in order to be cool'd.
Necessary Instruments.
The preparation itself is perform'd in the following manner. The roaster puts at once some pounds of the leaves into the iron pan, which, by the fire burning underneath, must be heated to that degree, that the leaves, when they are put in, turgid as they are, and full of juice, crack at the edges of the pan. Mean while, and in order to their being throughly and equally roasted, he is perpetually stirring them with both his hands. It must be observed, that in China the leaves of the first gathering, before they are roasted, are put into hot water only for about half a minute, or as long as one would be telling thirty: This is done, the more successfully to deprive the leaves of their narcotick quality, which is much stronger when they are young and full of juice, than when they are grown older and drier. The fire in the oven must be regulated so that the roaster's [p.11]
hands are just able to bear it, and the leaves must be stir'd, till they become so hot, that he can scarce handle them any longer; that instant he takes them out with a sort of a shovel, spread after the manner of a fan, and pours them upon the mat, in order to their being roll'd. The rollers take each a small part before them whilst they are hot, and fall to work immediately, rolling them with the palm of both their hands all after the same manner, because they must be all equally curl'd. The leaves being compressed by this rolling motion, a sharp yellow and greenish juice sweats out of their pores, which burns the hands to an almost intolerable degree. However, this burning pain notwithstanding, the rolling must be continued, till the leaves are become quite cold, for as they will not easily bear being curl'd, but when they are hot, so neither would the curls last any time, if they did not cool under the workman's hands. The sooner they cool, the better it is, and the longer the curls will last: For this reason they endeavour to forward the cooling by continually fanning them. As soon as they are grown cold, they must be again deliver'd to the roaster, as the chief director of the work, who was in the mean time roasting others, and who now puts them into the pan and roasts them a second time, till they have lost all the juice. In this second roasting he stirs them, not quickly and hastily, as in the first, but very slowly and deliberately, for fear of spoiling the curls, which however cannot be so far avoided, but that many leaves will open and spread again in spight of all their care. After the second roasting, they are again by him deliver'd to the rollers, who carefully roll them a second time after the very same manner. If then they are fully dry, they lay them aside for use, if not, the same process, both as to roasting and rolling, must be repeated a third time. Great care must be taken in the second and third roasting, when the leaves have already lost the best part of their juices and humidity, to lessen also the heat of the fire in proportion, which caution, should it be neglected, the leaves would be infallibly burnt, and turn black to the great prejudice of the proprietor. Curious persons repeat both the roasting and rolling five, and if they have full leisure enough, seven times, at every new roasting insensibly lessening the heat of the fire, in order to dry them by degrees, by which means they preserve that lively and agreeable greenness, which they are otherwise very apt to lose, if the roasting be perform'd too hastily and with too violent a heat. For the same purpose, I mean, in order to preserve their greenness, the pan must be wash'd clean with hot water after every roasting, because a sharp juice sticks to the borders of the pan, which is apt to stain and to corrupt the leaves. The roasting and curling of the leaves being performed according to art, and to the proprietors satisfaction, they are pour'd upon the floor which is cover'd with a mat, and although before the roasting they had been already sorted into different classes, according to their size and goodness, yet they must now, before they are laid aside for use, undergo a new and narrow examination, whereby the grosser leaves, and [p.12]
which are less neatly curl'd, or too much burnt, are separated from the rest. The leaves of the Ficki Tea must be roasted to a much greater degree of dryness, in order to be afterwards ground with so much the more ease, and reduced to a powder. Some of these leaves, being very young and tender, are put into hot water, and afterwards laid on a thick paper, and dried over the coals, without being roll'd at all, because of their being so exceedingly small. The Country people go a much shorter way to work, simply and without any great art, roasting their leaves in earthen kettles. Nor is their Tea much the worse for it, which besides, as it costs them no great trouble nor expence, they can afford to sell very cheap. After the Tea hath been kept for some months, it must be taken out of the vessels they keep it in and roasted again on a very gentle fire, in order to be entirely deprived of all manner of humidity, whither it retained any since the first preparation, or attracted it during the rainy season. Then at last it becomes fit for use, and may thence-forward be kept a long while without fear of being spoiled. The Tea-preparers complain mightily of the unhappiness of their profession, for nothing, they say, can be got cheaper in the Country than Tea, and yet no work is more tiresome and fatiguing than the preparation of it, which must be contrary to the rules of nature, done by night. with the loss of their rest.

The Preparation.


The Tea, after it hath undergone a sufficient roasting and curling, and is now become quite cold, must be put up forthwith and carefully kept from the air. In this indeed the whole art of preserving it chiefly consists, because the air, in these hotter climates, doth much sooner dissipate its extreme subtile and volatile parts, than it would in our colder European Countries. I verily believe that the Tea, which is brought over into Europe, is actually deprived of its most volatile saline parts, for I must own, I could never find in it that agreeable taste and gentle refreshing quality, which I very well remember it possesses in an eminent degree, when taken in its native Country. The Chinese put it up in boxes of a coarse tin, which if they be very large, are enclosed in wooden cases of fir, all the clefts whereof are first carefully stopp'd with paper) both within and without. After this manner also it is sent abroad into foreign Countries. The Japanese keep their stock of the common Tea in large earthen pots, with narrow mouth. The better sort of Tea, I mean that which the Emperor himself and the great men of the empire make use of, they choose to keep in porcellane pots or vessels, particularly, if they can get them, in those call'd Maatsubo, which are remarkable for their antiquity and great price. It is commonly believed that these Maatsubo pots do not only preserve the Tea in an equal state of goodness, but even improve its virtues, and that it ought to be esteem'd the dearer and better, the longer it hath lain in them. The Ficki Tsjaa, or ground Tea, may be kept in these [p.13]
vessels for several months, without being in the least injur'd thereby. Nay, they go still farther and pretend, that old and bad Tea, if it be put into these pots, will recover its lost virtues and former goodness. Hence we need not wonder, that the great men of the Empire are ambitious of having one or two of these pots, whatever they may cost them, and that among the set of instruments for drinking of Tea, sumptuous and splendid as they are, they always allow them the first place. The peculiar goodness and excellency of these pots, I think, well deserves, that their whole history be here inserted, which I am the more willing to do, as I do not remember, that the same was ever before publish'd. Maatsubo properly speaking signifies, a true pot, but in a wider sense the very best sort of vessels. That particular sort of porcellane vessels, which now bears this name, was made of a fine earth in Mauriga sima, or the island Mauri, which once rich and flourishing island, they say, was, for the wickedness and perverseness of its inhabitants, sunk by the angry Gods, that there are now no remains to be seen of it, excepting some rocks, which appear in low water. It was seated near the island Teyovaan or Formosa, about which there are in our maps small points and stars, or crosses, to denote a shallow rocky ground. The Chinese give the following account of the destruction of this island.
Preservation of the Leaves.
Maurigasima was an island famous in former ages for the excellency and fruitfulness of its soil, which afforded, among the rest, a particular clay, exceedingly proper for the making of those vessels, which now go by the name of Porcellane or China ware. The inhabitants very much inrich'd themselves by this manufacture, but their encreasing wealth gave birth to luxury, and contempt of religion, which incensed the Gods to that degree, that by an irrevocable decree they determin'd to sink the whole island. However, the then reigning King, and Sovereign of the island, whose name was Peiruun, being a very virtuous and religious Prince, no ways guilty of the crimes of his subjects, this decree of the Gods was reveal'd to him in a dream, wherein he was commanded, as he valued the security of his person, to retire on board his ships, and to fly from the island, as soon as he should observe, that the faces of the two idols, which stood at the entry of the temple turn'd red. These two idols, they say, were made of wood, both of a gigantick size, and call'd In-Jo, Ni-wo and A-wun. One is believ'd to preside over the generation of things, the other to command their destruction: The first denotes heaven and an active principle, the second earth and a passive principle, that opens and gives, this shuts and takes. Both had the face of a lion. Both wore crowns on their foreheads, and a short commander's staff wound about with a serpent in their hands, that call'd In in the right holding it upwards, this call'd Jo in the left pressing it downwards close to the breast. They were both naked, and wore only a loose piece of drapery about their waste. One had the mouth wide open, the other shut. They borrowed their names from their office and gestures. The first and generating principle is call'd In, Ni and A in the learned language) and Rikkisiwoo in that of the vulgar, the second and destructive principle Jo, Wo and Wun in the language of [p.14]
the learned, and Kongowoo by the vulgar. These two Idols stood, as hath been observed, at the entry of the temple, as they do to this day at the entry of several temples in Japan, and it was by their faces turning red, that the King should be forwarned of the approaching destruction or the island. So pressing a danger impend ing over the heads of his subjects, and the signs whereby they might know its approach, in order to save their lives by a speedy flight, he caus'd forthwith to be made publick, but was only ridiculed for his zeal and care, and grew contemptible to his subjects. Some time after, a loose idle fellow, farther to expose the King's superstitious fears, went one night, no body observing him, and painted the faces of both idols red. The next morning notice was given to the King, that the idols faces were red, upon which, little imagining it to be done by such wicked hands, but looking upon it as a miraculous event, and undoubted sign of the island's destruction being now at hand, he went forthwith on board his ships, with his family and all that would follow him, and with all the sails crowded hasten'd from the fatal shores towards the coasts of the province Foktsju in China. After the King's departure the island sunk, and the scoffer with his accom plices, not apprehensive that their frolick should be attended with so dangerous a consequence, were swallow'd up by the waves, with all the unfaithful that remained in the island, and an immense quantity of Porcellane-ware. The King and his people got safe to China, where the memory of his arrival is still celebrated by a yearly festival, on which the Chinese, particularly the inhabitants of the southern maritime provinces, divert themselves on the water, rowing up and down in their boats, as if they were preparing for a flight, and sometimes crying with a loud voice Peiruun, which was the name of that Prince. The same festival hath been by the Chinese introduced into Japan, and is now celebrated there, chiefly upon the western coasts of this empire. The Porcellane vessels, which sunk together with the island to the bottom of the sea, are now taken up by diving. They are found sticking to the rocks, and must be taken off from thence with great care for fear of breaking them, they are commonly very much disfigured by shells, corals, and the like submarine substances growing thereon, which are scraped off by those who clean them, though not quite, they leaving always some small portion, as a proof of their being genuine. They are transparent, exceeding thin, of a whitish colour, inclining to green, in shape not unlike small barrels, or wine vessels, with a short narrow neck, and altogether proper for keeping of Tea, as if they had been purposely made with that view. They are imported into Japan, though but seldom, by the Chinese merchants of the province Foktsju, who buy them from the divers, and sell them, the worst for about twenty Thails, the middle sort for an hundred or two hundred, and the best of all, which are large and entire, for three, four to five thousand Thails. These last no body dare presume to buy, but the Emperor himself, who hath such a quantity of them in his treasure, inherited chiefly from his predecessors, as would amount to an immense sum of money. [p.15]
It is a very difficult matter to get them without cracks, or fissures, but the people who clean them, know how to mend and repair them, with a particular composition of paint, so neatly, that no art, nor the sharpest eye is able to find out whether or where they were crack'd, unless they be for two or three days together boil'd in hot water, which will at last dissolve the glue. Thus much of these precious Tea-boxes call'd Maatsubo.
The Bantsjaa, or coarse Tea of the third and last gathering, is not so easily to be injured by the air, for though it hath less virtue, if compared to the other sorts of Tea, yet those few it hath are more fixed in proportion: Nor is it necessary to preserve it with so much care, and in so curious and nice a manner. The Country people keep it, and indeed their Tea in general, in straw baskets made like barrels, which they put under the roofs of their houses, near the hole which lets out the smoak, they being of opinion, that nothing is better than smoak to preserve the virtues of the leaves, and still to fix them more and more. Some put it up with common Mugwort flowers, or the young leaves of the Plant call'd Sasanqua, which they believe adds much to its agreeableness. Other odoriferous and sweet-scented substances were found upon trial not to agree well with it.

History of Peiruun.


The Tea, as it is taken inwardly, is prepared in two different ways. The first is used by the Chinese, and is nothing else but a simple infusion of the Tea-leaves in hot water, which is drank as soon as it hath drawn out the virtue of the Plant. The same way of drinking Tea hath been also introduced in Europe, and is now so well known to every body, that it is needless to add any thing about it. The other way, which is peculiar to the Japanese, is by grinding: The leaves are a day before they are used, or on the same day, reduced into a fine delicate powder, by grinding them in a hand-mill made of a black greenish stone, which is call'd Serpentine Stone: This powder is mix'd with hot water into a thin pulp, which is afterwards sip'd. This Tea is call'd Koitsjaa, that is, thick Tea, by way of distinction from the thinner Tea, made only by infusion, and it is that which all the rich people and great men in Japan daily drink. It is made and serv'd up in company after the following manner: The powder enclosed in a box, and the rest of the Tea-table furniture is brought into the room, where the company sits. Then all the dishes are fill'd with hot water, and the box being open'd, they take out, with a small neat spoon, about so much of the powder as would lay on the point of a pretty large knife, and put it into every dish: After this they mix and shake it with a curious denticulated instrument, till it foams, and so present it to be sip'd, whilst it is hot. There is still a third way of making the Tea by a perfect boiling, which goes farther than a simple infusion, and is used by the vulgar and Country people, who drink of it all day long. Early in the morning, and before sun-rise, one of the domesticks gets up, hangs the kettle over the fire, fills it with water, and puts in, either when the water is [p.16]
cold, or after it hath been made hot, two, three or more handfuls of the Bantsja leaves, according to the number of heads in the family. At the same time he puts in a basket, of that size and shape which exactly fits the inside of the kettle) by this means to keep the leaves down to the bottom, that they should be no hindrance in drawing of the water. This kettle is to serve for the whole family all day long, to quench their thirst. Every one, who hath a mind to drink, goes there, when he pleases, and with a pail takes out as much of the decoction, as he will. A bason of cold water is put by it, that in case people have not time to sip it leisurely, they may cool it to what degree they please, and quench their thirst without delay, by taking large draughts at once. Some leave the basket out, and instead of it put the leaves into a bag, which answers the same end. Only the Bantsja leaves must be boil'd after this manner, because their virtues are more fix'd, and consisting chiefly in the resinous parts could not be well extracted by a simple infusion.
It is a particular art to make the Tea, and to serve it in company, which however consists more in certain decent and agreeable manners, than in any difficulty as to the boiling or preparation. This art is call'd Sado and Tsianoi. As there are people in Europe, who teach to carve, to dance, to fence, and other things of the like nature, so there are masters in Japan, who make it their business to teach children of both sexes, what they call Tsianosi, that is, to behave well, when in company with Tea-drinkers, and also to make the Tea, and to present it in company, with a genteel becoming and graceful manner. The poorer sort of people, particularly in the province Nara, sometimes boil their rice, which is the main sustenance of the natives, in the infusion or decoction of the Tea, by which means, they say, it becomes more nourishing and filling, insomuch that one portion of rice, thus prepared, will go so far with them as three portions, if it were boil'd only in common water. I must not forget to mention another external use of the Tea, after it is grown too old, and hath lost too much of its virtues, to be taken inwardly: It is then made use of for dying of silk-stuffs, to which it gives a brown, or chesnut colour. For this purpose vast quantities of the leaves are sent almost every year from China to Gusarattam, (or Suratta.)

Use of the Tea.


I took notice above, that the leaves of the Tea have something narcotick in them, which very much disorders the animal spirits, and is apt to make people, as it were, drunk.
Its good and bad qualities.
This ill quality is taken off, in a good measure, by a repeated and gradual roasting, though not quite so effectually, but that some of it still remains, which will affect the head, and which they cannot well be deprived of, but by degrees, in ten months time and more. Having lain so long, they are then so far from disordering the animal spirits, that they rather gently refresh them, and wonderfully chear and [p.17]
Its virtues.
comfort the mind. Hence it is, that taken too fresh, and within the term of a year, they are indeed exceeding agreeable and pleasant to the taste, but if drank in too large a quantity, they will strongly affect the head, render it heavy, and cause a trembling of the nerves. The best and most delicate Tea, and which possesses its refreshing quality in the most eminent degree, must be at least a year old. It is never drank fresher, unless it be mix'd with an equal quantity of an older sort. To sum up the virtues of this liquor in a few words, it opens the obstructions, cleanses the blood, and more particularly washes away that tartarous matter, which is the efficient cause of calculous concretions, nephritick and gouty distempers. This it doth so very effectually, that among the Tea-drinkers of this Country 1 never met with any, who was troubled either with the gout or stone: And I am wholly of opinion, that the use of this Plant would be attended with the same success, in the like cases, even in Europe, were it not for an heredi tary disposition for either of these distempers, which is derived to some persons from their ancestors, and which is frequently cherish'd and fomented by a too plentiful use o wine, beer, strong liquors and flesh meat. Even in Japan the lovers of that sort of beer, which is brew'd out of rice, and which is call'd by the Chinese Sampsu, and by the Japanese Sakki, cry down, so much as in them lies, the use of the Tea, and others pretend, that the best quality it hath goes no farther, than just to correct the crudity of the water, and to keep people in company together. Among these indeed it is not very rare to meet with such, as are troubled with gouty and arthritic dis orders, retention of urine, and the like distempers. They are very much mistaken, who recommend the use of the Veronica, or Male Speedwell, and of the Myrtus Brabantica, instead of Tea, as being Plants of equal virtues. I believe, that there is no Plant as yet known in the world, whose infusion or decoction, taken so very plenti fully, as that of Tea is in Japan, sits so easy upon the stomach, passes quicker through the body, or so gently refreshes the drooping animal spirits, and recreates the mind. Those perhaps might chance to meet with a better reward for their trouble, who would endeavour to find out the like virtues in some of those Plants, which, for their bad and sometimes reputed venomous qualities, are entirely rejected, by making them first undergo a due correction and preparation. But it seems, the Europeans are wholly ignorant of the art of depriving these vegetables of their bad and hurtful qualities, and withal so averse to it, that for ought I know, one would injure his reputa tion too much, and perhaps run the hazard of being accused of witchcraft, if he should only attempt such a thing. The ingenious Brahmines are much better skill'd in this art. Thus for instance, they have learnt by long experience so to correct the Datura, or Poppy, (the excellent juice of which hath been rank'd among the poisons by eminent lawyers, Gothofr. ad L. 3. ff. ad L. Corn. de Sic.) and other the like Plants growing in their Country, and either to deprive them, or else so to mitigate their narcotick qualities, that, taken inwardly, they make people under misfortunes [p.18]
unattentive to the unhappiness of their condition, banish out of their mind all ideas of melancholy and solicitude, and raise others of mirth and pleasure in their stead. They commonly give them in the form of Electuaries.

I proceed now to the bad qualities of the Tea, which according to the account given by the Japanese are as follows. Drinking of Tea hinders and suppresses the effect of other medicines. It is hurtful, and must be carefully avoided in that sort of colick, which is endemick to this Country. The infusion of the fresh leaves, as it very much affects the head in general, so it hath been found by undoubted experiments particularly to hurt those, who are troubled with inflammations in their eyes. I likewise enquired of the Chinese Physicians about the bad qualities of this Plant, and had the following account given me by a grave elderly man. If one should drink all day long of a strong infusion of the Tea-leaves, he would thereby destroy the radical principle of life, which consists in a due mixture of hot and cold, or dry and moist. The like ill effect would ensue, but for contrary reasons, from a daily and too frequent use of fat food, and particularly of swine's flesh, which the Chinese are very fond of. -But if these two contraries be put together, they will, far from being prejudicial, rather contribute to health and long life. For the truth of this assertion they vouch the case of a woman, who being weary of a passionate scolding husband, and one labouring besides under a case of impotency, consulted with a Physician about ways and means to get rid of him, and was advised to allow him for his daily food only swine's flesh, and all manner of fat things, which should undoubtedly kill him within a year's time. But not throughly satisfied with this advice, she went to consult another, who bid her make her husband, then almost reduced to a skeleton, drink frequently of a strong infusion of Tea leaves, telling her, that this would infallibly bring him to the grave within the term of a year. The woman, upon this, for dispatch sake, and to do her husband's business more effectually, made use of both, but found, to her great grief, that by the joint use of these two contraries, far from declining, he quickly got the better of his constitution, recover'd his strength insensibly, and was at last restored to a perfect state of health. I cannot forbear adding here the elegant verses of Ausonius, a celebrated French poet, on a woman in the like case, who, in order to make away with her husband, gave him first a poison, and afterwards, to do his business more effectually, a dose of Mercury, which happily proving an Antidote, destroy'd the effect of the poison, and preserved his life.
The words of Ausonius are,
Toxica Zelotypo dedit uxor moecha marito,
Nec satis ad mortem credidit esse datum.
Miscuit Argenti lethalia pondera VIVI,
Cogeret ut celerem vis geminata necem.
Dividat haec si quis, faciunt discreta venenum,
Antidotum sumet, qui sociata bibet. [p.19]
Ergo inter sese dum noxia pocula certant,
Cessit lethalis noxa salutiferae.
Protinus & vacuos alvi petiere recessus,
Lubrica dejectis, qua via nota cibis.
Quam pia cura divum! Prodest crudelior uxor;
Et cum fata volunt, bina venena juvant!
Its bad qualities.


That there should be nothing wanting to compleat this history of the Tea, I have thought fit to present the reader with the accurate draughts and description of a portable machine, containing, in a very little compass, the dishes, and whole set of instruments necessary for making and drinking of Tea, such as the Japanese, for their use and diversion, carry along with them in their journeys, and where-ever they go. (See Tab. XXXIX.)
A. and B. are two views of this portable machine, entire, with its hooks, hinges, buttons, and nails, as it appears on each side, being made all of wood, (the valves or folding-doors only, which cover it, excepted) and varnish'd. A shews the fore part. B the back part. CC. Two valves, or folding-covers of brass, put together at the top of the machine, and fasten'd by two long braces.
d. An aperture, or hole, which goes through, just beneath the top of the machine, and is fitted up to receive a pole, for the easier carrying of the machine upon servant's shoulders, for which purpose also the two handles, which hang downwards, are contrived so, that being moved upwards, their appendices e e come just before the hole on each side, for the pole to go through them all at once.
fg. fg. The upper story of the machine, containing two brass vessels, P and T, cover'd with tin on the inside, which serve for keeping and boiling of water. The two brass valves c. c. must be open'd to take them out.
gh. gh. The lowermost story of the machine, containing three rows of wooden cases V. W. and X. neatly varnish'd within and without, wherein are kept the necessary things for drinking of Tea.
i. A hole to receive the bolt of the hanging valve L.
K. A long brass hook to hold the hanging valve backwards upon its being open'd.
L. The hanging valve of wood (which shuts the lowermost story of A, to hinder the wooden cases from falling out) taken off from its hinges. In it are remarkable the bolt m, which is received by the abovementioned hole i, and the ring n, which answers to the hook k, which hook, as hath been observed, serves to keep the valve up, whilst the cases are taken out. o. A hole on the opposite side B, to put in one's finger and to push the cases forward, in order to their being taken out with ease.
P. The larger brass vessel, wherein the water is boil'd. It hath three apertures at the top, each with a cover to it: The first serves to put in the
cold, fresh water: The second to let out the hot water: The third opens into a wind-oven conceal'd within, and serves for to put in coals. I have represented one of the opercula or covers hanging down, to shew both its edges, as they are contrived to make it shut close. q. Is the wind-oven just mentioned. It is cylindrical, made of brass, and stands in the middle of the water, being fasten'd to the vessel, in which it is contain'd, by its upper orifice, and its mouth at the lower end. r. Is the mouth of the oven, where the wind comes in to blow up the coals. s. s. s. Are the spiracula or breathing holes, which let the smoak and damp pass through.
T. Is the smaller brass vessel, which serves for keeping the cold water, and hath an operculum, or covering, like the former.
V. Is a wooden case, containing the dishes and several instruments requisite for making and drinking the Tea, mark'd separately with Num. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
W. Is the second and larger wooden case, which is divided into two partitions, in the outermost of which are kept coals and fuel, in the other some more dishes for drinking Tea, or what other things people think proper to put in there.
X. Are three smaller wooden cases standing close one upon the other, with their uppermost common cover invers'd. In these are kept several eatables, which are presented along with the Tea.
1. Is the dish to drink the Tea, with a small conduit pipe through it, to receive the handle or haft 2. which is taken out, after it hath been made use of.
3. Is a cup or box full of the leaves of the Tea, either entire or ground.
4. Is a small spoon to take out the ground Tea.
5. Is the instrument call'd Ficki Tsjaa, to mix the ground or powder'd Tea, before it is sip'd.
6. Is a brass vessel, which serves to pour the Tea out. The lower part of it, which is also cover'd with tin on the inside, is put into the larger aperture of the brass vessel P, by the ascending vapours to keep its contents from cooling. It hath a cover much as above described.
7. Is the scale, by which the largeness and dimensions of the several parts of this machine were taken, for the use of those, who would be curious to get such another made. It contains one Sakf, or ten Sun, which comes very near one of our geometrical feet. [p.21]
Instruments for making and drinking of Tea.

inserted by FC2 system