label r shifted
Session B4
Taiwan’s Tea Art: Invented Tradition or Cultural Inheritance?
余舜德 Shuenn-Der Yu
Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica, Taiwan

There is no double that there has been a strong Taiwanese identity but whether there can be claimed a Taiwanese culture is open for debates; Chinese cultural inheritance has always been a key in depicting what a Taiwanese culture is like, despite Taiwan is a multicultural society with sixteen indigenous peoples officially recognized and was once ruled by Japan for fifty years. Using Taiwan’s recent development of tea art as an example, this paper attempts at discussing complex issues involved in characterizing Taiwan culture. I will analyze how Taiwan’s tea culture has developed from its particular historical contexts and how this development has deviated from its Chinese heritage to become an “invention of tradition” in Hobsbawm’s sense. I will pay special attention to how and why Taiwan, considered as a periphery, has been capable of influencing China who identifies herself as the core of Chinese culture. Being considered as an important “traditional” feature, tea art represents a vibrant cultural activity in Taiwan that plays key roles in the globalization of Chinese culture.