Monday, September 15, 2014

My First Tea Pet

As a "westerner" who is interested in Asian culture in general, especially tea, I read as much as much as my free time allows on any interesting subject I can find regarding tea or Asian cultural beliefs. . I do this because it is interesting and I love learning about cultures. People are very close minded these days and if I can keep a mind without boundarys, it can only make me a more conscious cultural person. With that little bit out of the way, on to something that is new to me: Tea Pets.

 Jin Chan*
Tea pets are little figurines that accompany you while you are drinking tea. They are generally made from a yixing clay but can be made out of stone, plastic, or various other mediums. The pets are usually made into zodiac animals that symbolize various meanings from Chinese lore. My personal favorites are Lu Yu(which I have only seen online), Pee pee boy/Squirting frog, and Pixiu. Pixiu is commonly shown as a winged lion who is the protector or Feng Shui. Pixiu can also be shown as a turtle, frog, dragon, or the classic winged lion. My tea pet is the frog form of pixiu who symbolizes wealth. Pixiu has a craving for the smell of gold and silver and likes to bring its master the money he finds. Who could say no to that? I acquired my Pixiu frog on my recent trip to Nashville,TN from the quaint little teashop called Music City Tea. (Look for a post in the future about all my goodies I got on my trip)

Tea pets are little mascots that grow with you on your tea journey. You always want to "feed" the pet by discarding your rinse(if you do so) or left over tea over their body's so that they change colors(stain) over time. The more tea you drink, the more your pet will be fed, the more he/she will stain, and the happier he/she will be! My Pixiu does have the ability to change colors a little bit. When cool, he is a deep gold color(the right frog in the photo above) and when hot water, or tea, is poured over his body he turns a bright vibrant gold(frog on left). I don't know a lot about tea pets but I can say that I am quite excited to have a little guy around who brings me coins and like to drink tea! I think we will be great friends.
In action!
Addendum: I'm fairly sure I was told wrong about who my pet is. I'm led to believe that this is  Jin Chan from further research. I do not want to erase the blog/information so please be aware that this is more than likely Jin Chan and not pixiu.