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The origin of tea can be traced back to over 4000 years ago in China. No one is sure where and when tea was first brewed; stories about tea's origins are more myth than reality. One story tells that a legendary Chinese leader and medical expert, Sheng Nong, discovered tea as a medicinal herb in 2737 B.C. One day while he was boiling water under a tea tree, some tealeaves fell into Sheng's pot of boiling water. After drinking some tea, he discovered its miraculous powers and immediately placed tea on his list of medicinal herbs.  

Initially used as an offering and as medicine, tea became the most commonly used beverage during western Han dynasty. Buddhist monks started growing it around monasteries. Later, during the Ming dynasty, the tea trade took an upper share in the state economy and the ”Tea and Horse Bureau" was set up to supervise tea trade. 

A Buddhist Monk introduced tea to Japan in the 6th Century and later in the 16th Century a Portuguese missionary introduced it to Europe. There began the history of Tea as an international drink. Trade between China and the western world grew considerably with the beginning of the Ching Dynasty. As the Emperor of China was taking his first snuff of tobacco brought from Europe, the Queen of England was sipping her first cup of tea. As early as 1615, English traders with the East India Company were aware of the existence of tea. Tea quickly spread throughout Europe and in less than 100 years, England's import of tea rose from 100 pounds a year to over 5 million pounds per year. This demand for tea meant many voyages to bring shiploads of tea from China.  

Along with the tea, came porcelain. To stabilize these large ships they required ballast. ( heavy objects or weights in the lowest section of the hull of the ship to counterbalance the weight of the masts and sails) On their journey eastward, the ballast consisted of lead and sulpher, which was traded to the Chinese for tea. They needed something cheap and of equal weight for the journey home. Porcelain goods were the perfect solution.  

Unlike tea, which took time to cultivate and could only be grown in certain climates, the only requirement for porcelain was clay and craftsmen. Both of which were abundant in China. The Chinese were eager to supply porcelain goods to the west, as they could turn dirt into gold with the addition of labor. By the end of the 18th century, millions of pieces of porcelain were being produced for export. 

Benefits of Drinking Tea 

Much was written in ancient Chinese books about tea, and in particular, about its health benefits: “Drinking genuine tea aids in quenching thirst and in digestion, checks phlegm, wards off sleepiness, stimulates renal activity, improves eyesight and mental prowess, dispels boredom and dissolves greasy food.” 

In recent years, the legendary medicinal properties of tea have been given serious scientific support. Studies have shown that drinking four cups of green tea a day can reduce the risk of developing stomach and lung cancer as well as heart disease. Green tea contains, among others, the cancer-fighting flavonoid epigallocatechin gallate (ECGC). ECGC is unique in that it seems to battle cancer at all stages, from thwarting chemical carcinogens, to suppressing the spread of tumors. ECGC is as much as 100 times more powerful an antioxidant as vitamin C, and 25 times more powerful than vitamin E. ECGC also may account for the antibacterial properties of green tea.

Japanese Puzzle Boxes -  Each amazing secret box only open if you move the various panels in a very specific order. They range from boxes that open with only 4 moves, to boxes that can take over 50 moves. These make great gifts.
Gold Leaf Lacquer - Gold Leaf Lacquer ware is one of the finest crafts produced in China. It involves a 20 step process that converts normal objects of porcelain or wood into beautiful masterpieces. Each piece is hand painted and gilded with gold leaf, then finished with over 10 coats of lacquer, a process that can take up to a month to complete.

 

Golden Pond Collection - Adorable reptile figures from the Golden Pond Collection by Green Tree. These products originated in Dehua ... one of the finest ceramic capitals of Asia with over 3000 years of ceramic history and culture. A process of 8 working procedures all fired at different temperatures is how the hand painted finish is achieved on these wonderful collectible pieces. Our assortment includes Frogs, Lizards, and Alligators.

Red Coral Collection - Our Jewelry-Makers in Bali and Thailand begin with .925 Sterling Silver and create beautiful pieces accented with Red Sponge Coral. This collection will definitely get you noticed.

Exotic Shell Collection - Choose from many different varieties of Shell necklaces, pendants, earrings, and bracelets made from Sterling Silver and exotic shells and pearls.

Amber Collection - Our genuine Baltic Amber and Sterling Silver jewelry comes from the finest jewelers in Poland. Each piece is crafted by hand. Because we buy direct, we are able to offer this collection at prices that are a fraction of what other retail stores charge.

Southwestern Collection - Turquoise, Spiny Oyster Shell, and Semi-Precious Stone set in Sterling Silver with designs unique to the American Southwest.
Tea Sets from Japan, China, and Vietnam that match our other Japanese Tableware perfectly. Dozens of varieties of Tea are also available. 
Japanese Sake Sets - Choose from our wide variety of hand crafted designs imported from Japan. Matching Sushi Sets and bowls also available.
Japanese Sushi Sets - Over 75 different designs to select from. The largest inventory available on the internet. We have everything you need to set your table in style for your next Sushi Party or Chinese Food with your family.
The Tetsubin teapot is a Japanese teapot made of cast iron. A typical Tetsubin teapot has a geometric, organic or animal pattern decoration on the side where its spout faces your right.
 

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