The History of Iron Goddess of Mercy (Tieguanyin)
Centuries ago in
Sand County, Fujian Province, China, lived a tea farmer named Mr. Wei.
Each morning and evening he used to pass by a temple dedicated to the
Goddess T'ieh-Kuan-Yin (Tie Quan Yin, Ti Kuan Yin, or Ti Kwan Yin). He
was a poor farmer, but was often moved by the poorer condition of the
temple. So he would regularly burn incense inside the temple, sweep the
floors and clean the statue of the Goddess.
Understanding Mr. Wei's deep devotion to her temple,
T'ieh-Kuan-Yin appeared to him in a dream and said: "Behind the temple,
deep in a cave is a treasure that will last you for generations, but
for it to be valuable you must share it with all of your neighbors."
Waking up and rushing to the cave behind the temple,
Mr. Wei searched and searched for the treasure. But the only thing he
found was a small sprig of a tea bush. Unhappily he took this sprig and
planted it in his tea garden. Over the next few years it grew into a
bush. When he made tea from the leaves of this bush, he noticed a
unique fragrance and amber infusion, which offers many infusions of the
same tea leaves.
Mr. Wei propagated the bush further into hundreds of
tea bushes and, remembering the instructions of the Goddess gave shoots
and seeds to all of his neighbors. Traders in the Capital heard of the
famous tea named after T'ieh-Kuan-Yin and the region which specialized
in growing it. Soon all the farmers in Sand County became prosperous
and Tieguanyin Oolong developed a national reputation. The temple was
repaired and funds put aside for its upkeep.
The Goddess continues to bless Sand County today as the
best Tieguanyin still comes from Fujian in the Wu-Yi Mountains. Other
good Tieguanyin style Oolongs, including ours, are grown in Taiwan as well.
More Tea. More Samovar.
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