Tea Horse Road: The Soul of Pu-erh Tea Culture

2018-08-21 17:18:14 35

Tea Horse Road


The Tea Horse Road is a private international trade channel that exists in the southwestern part of China and uses the caravan as the main means of transportation. It is the corridor for the economic and cultural exchanges between the southwestern Chinese nation. The Tea Horse Road is a very special geographical title. It is one of the most spectacular and culturally mysterious tourist routes in the world. It has a total length of nearly 4,000 kilometers and has a history of more than 1,300 years. With profound historical accumulation and cultural heritage, it is an indispensable bridge and link between ancient Tibet and the mainland. It contains inexhaustible cultural heritage and has a long history and cultural significance.


Historical source

According to historical records, Chinese tea was first spread overseas, dating back to the Southern and Northern Dynasties. At that time, Chinese merchants exported tea to Turkey on the border with Mongolia by means of tea.

During the Sui and Tang Dynasties, with the development of the border trade market and the opening of the Silk Road, Chinese tea was transported to Western Asia, North Asia and Arabia by means of tea-horse trading, and returned to Siberia. Russia and European countries.


Since the Tang Dynasty, rulers of all ages have actively adopted the means of controlling tea-horse trade. In the first year of Tang Suzong's reign (AD 756) to the first year of the millennium, the horse tea market in the Huishui area of Mongolia opened a precedent for tea-horse trade.

In the Northern Song Dynasty, the tea-horse trade was mainly in the Shaanxi-Gansu region. Yima's tea was taken locally in Sichuan and Chongqing, and in Chengdu and Qinzhou (now Tianshui, Gansu), tea and horses were placed.


In the Yuan Dynasty, the government abolished the policy of tea-horse management in the Song Dynasty.

In the Ming Dynasty, the system of the Yuan station was continued, and those who were damaged were restored within a time limit. At the same time, the Ming Dynasty strengthened the management on the ramp. The Ming Dynasty set up tea horses in Yazhou and Tuen Mun. Every year, millions of kilograms of tea enter Tibet through the Kang District. As the main "tea ceremony" of the Sichuan-Tibet line, the economic value has increased greatly. During the Hongwu period of Ming Taizu, the top horses exchanged a maximum of 120 pounds of tea. During the Wanli Period of the Ming Dynasty, it was decided to wait for a horse to change for thirty teas, medium twenty, and five equals.

In the Qing Dynasty, the policy of tea and horse governance was slack, and there were more private tea merchants. In the tea-horse trade, it was more than a lot of tea. In the thirteenth year of Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty, the official tea-horse trading system was terminated.

The system of tea-horse trade management began from the Sui and Tang Dynasties to the Qing Dynasty, and it has gone through thousands of years of vicissitudes. In the long years of trading in the tea-horse market, Chinese businessmen squatted in the northwest and southwest, using their own feet, to embark on a rugged tea-horse road.

Due to various reasons such as social unrest, war, and corruption of the Qing government, the ancient tea-horse road was abandoned along with the rapid decline of the Pu-erh tea industry.


In the summer of 1990, Prof. Muxihong and others from Yunnan University came to the triangle of Sichuan and Yunnan. They wanted to confirm the true existence of the Tea Horse Road and conduct some academic investigations along the way.

Their trips have undergone various unexpected tests, and they are always at risk of death. In the caves of the mountains, under the steep rocks, piles of white bones remind them of the difficulty of walking this road. Finally, they spent more than three months walking more than 2,000 kilometers, over dozens of snow-capped mountains of more than 4,700 meters, crossing dozens of rapids and shoals on the Jinsha River, Nujiang River and Minjiang River, facing the triangle of the , Tibet and Sichuan The language and culture of the zone were systematically examined, collecting and recording nearly a million words of information, taking more than 3,000 documentary photos, recording hundreds of folktales and music tapes, and collecting thousands of physical specimens.

At the end, they named this huge network of tea-based ancient roads on the Asian continent as the ancient tea-horse road.

historical meaning:

With the rise of modern transportation, this tea-horse road, which has been used for more than a thousand years since the Tang and Song Dynasties and played an important role in communication between Han and Tibet, has lost its former status and function, but it is regarded as the Chinese nation. A historical testimony to the formation process, as a precious historical and cultural heritage of the multi-ethnic family of China today, is still shining, and its meaning and value are increasingly highlighted as time goes by.

The ancient tea-and-horse road, these four words, let Pu-erh tea float out of the cultural tea fragrance from the historical dust that almost annihilated. 

Over the past two hundred years, the time has changed, and the personnel has been floating. The ancient tea-horse road has witnessed the changes in the history of Pu-erh tea from beginning to end. The ancient tea-horse road finally became the soul of Pu-erh tea culture!