Amanyangyun Hosts Three Days of Tea Ceremonies | The Way of Tea

Amid a flourishing forest of camphor trees, on the shores of a tranquil lake, Amanyangyun is Aman’s fourth destination in China and opened in January this year. With a name meaning ‘nourishing cloud’ and a deep-rooted connection to China’s cultural past, the serene retreat provides a striking and welcome contrast to the bustle of urban Shanghai.

On 19th to 21st October 2018, Taiwanese tea master Xie Zhizhang will visit Nan Shufang to present three days of tea ceremonies, exclusively for Amanyangyun guests.  A champion of Taiwanese tea culture for over three decades, Xie Zhizang considers the preparation and serving of tea as a form of art, which she cultivates both in her own teahouse and on her travels with her followers to share her knowledge everywhere from tea plantations to temples. Her outdoor tea ceremonies are one of the most sought-after experiences among China’s tea aficionados; now, guests residing in Amanyangyun’s Antique Pavilions have the rare privilege of sharing in Xie’s expertise as she presents her personal tea collections in a ceremony beneath the resort’s Emperor Tree – the tallest and eldest tree in the resort’s camphor forest.

Teapot in Room

At the heart of Amanyangyun stands Nan Shufang, an ancient villa that, like many of the resort’s Ming- and Qing-dynasty buildings, has traveled hundreds of miles from Fuzhou to be reconstructed here on the forest fringes of Shanghai. Once a 17th-century school, the villa has been reborn as Nan Shufang – the spiritual and cultural center of Amanyangyun. Named after the royal reading pavilion in the Forbidden City and furnished with the Nanmu wood characteristic of Ming interiors, Nan Shufang is a modern interpretation of the scholars’ studios of the ancient Chinese literati – a space to learn, contemplate and practice traditional crafts such as calligraphy, music and painting. Across the courtyard in a newly built wing, nine rooms have been created to host cultural activities ranging from guqin music lessons to traditional tea ceremonies.

Nanshufang Restored Villa

Tea has been a cornerstone of Chinese culture for many centuries and would have played a significant role in the lives of the scholars who once lived and studied in the antique villas of Amanyangyun. Today, the apparently mundane act of brewing and drinking tea has become exalted into an intricate and contemplative art form – simultaneously an exercise in aesthetics, cultural history, meditation and moral philosophy. This autumn, Nan Shufang invites Aman guests to experience and understand the role of tea as a means of self-cultivation – the Chinese Way of Tea.

To mark Xie Zhizhang’s visit, Amanyangyun’s elegant Chinese restaurant, Lazhu, will curate special set menus drawing inspiration from Chinese tea culture and Zhizang’s tea collections. Executive Chef Fred Shi has created a series of delicacies that pair prized rare teas with locally sourced produce, including oolong-smoked marinated chicken and marinated yam with Iron Buddha tea.

For the duration of the event, Nan Shufang will host two elaborate tea ceremonies each day. Guests staying in Amanyangyun’s Antique Pavilions will receive complimentary access through an exclusive two-night package. This includes:

  •  Two nights in an Antique Pavilion
  •  Daily breakfast for two at Italian restaurant Arva
  •  Admission to one tea ceremony session
  • A set lunch for two at Chinese restaurant Lazhu, with a special menu inspired by Chinese tea culture
Photography courtesy Amanyangyun