If you’ve ever seen a traditional Chinese tea ceremony setting, you probably noticed these little money frogs on the tea table. These money frogs are known as ‘tea pets’. Besides these money frogs, tea pets are also available in other forms such as buddhas/monks and mythical creatures. These tea pets in fact are great to own for some additional ‘luck’ and improve the ‘feng shui’ of a tea drinking environment. Learn more in this article!
What is Feng Shui?
Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese philosophical system as well as a geomantic practice. It has a close link to Taoism. The term “Feng Shui” literally translates as “wind-water” in English. It focuses on harmonising everyone with the surrounding environment by positioning objects within a building or an area in a way that everything agrees with spiritual forces.
Feng Shui and Tea
Feng Shui practice discusses the spiritual forces that bind the universe, earth, and human together. It has a metaphorical connection with the tea, as tea is believed as the essence of the universe, earth, and human. We can also find this connection in Gaiwan teaware: the lid as the universe, the saucer as earth, and the bowl as the human being.
Tea pets are small figures of animals, plants and folklore characters, usually made of Zisha (Yixing clay) – same material as Yixing teapots. It is common for tea lovers to own tea pets for good luck.
To “raise” a tea pet means to pour leftover tea over it to “nourish” it. Over time, the tea pet absorbs the tea and becomes glossier and more lifelike, along with the aroma of the tea.
Feng Shui and Tea Pets
The basic Feng Shui rules for all the tea pets are simple: tea pets should be at the upper left corner of the tea table, or at the front row of the tea tray.
There are however specific rules regarding different figures of tea pets. Let’s take a look at the rules for some popular tea pets in China.
1. Money frog
In Chinese legend, Money frog turned from evil to good and helped out the poor people everywhere by spitting out money. It represents good fortune and wealth. It has a peculiar look – two legs at front, only one leg at the back that looks like a tail, strings of coins carried on its back, one coin held in its mouth.
If you got one Money frog tea pet with a coin held in the mouth, the good Feng Shui rule to follow is to face it to yourself. Never face it to the door, because it means to turn the good fortune away. If the Money frog didn’t have a coin in the mouth, which is rare, then you should face it to the door, that means it would draw the wealth to you.
A Pixiu is a Chinese mythical animal that looks like a fierce lion with wings. Its figure is widely used in Feng Shui practice. It is believed that a Pixiu can stabilise houses and avoid evil spirits. It eats only gold, silver and jewels and never deficates, so it draws wealth from all directions to the house, and the wealth stays and accumulates. Because of this, Pixiu has been traditionally considered an auspicious protector that brings good luck and wealth.
Feng Shui tips for Pixiu tea pet:
- Face it to the front door and make sure that nothing is too close to block its view; otherwise it can’t see evil sprits and good fortune.
- Pixiu loves to be clean, make sure there’s no dirt or leftover tea leaves on it.
3. The Laughing Buddha
In Chinese culture, The Laughing Buddha represents both contentment and abundance. His figure usually is a stout, laughing bald man with an exposed big belly. People believe that rubbing his belly brings wealth, good luck, and prosperity.
Feng Shui tips for a Laughing Buddha tea pet: Because a Laughing Buddha’s smile shows his hospitality to every guest, as a tea pet figure, it should be facing the front door, welcoming every guest and the good luck to come.