Lu Tong, also known as “Master Jade Spring,” was a poet during the Tang Dynasty in China, although he was more well-known for his love of tea, rather than his poetry.
Although little is known about his life, which spanned from approximately 795 to 835 CE, it is known that he declined an offer to become a provincial officer, preferring a simple life centered around tea. He lived in seclusion in the mountains of Hunan Province, where he composed poems that showcased his belief in the ability of tea to enhance one’s natural and holistic existence.
Lu Tong’s poetry gained recognition from prominent government officials, who were fascinated by his tea-inspired verses. In exchange for their patronage, Lu Tong maintained his relationships with these high-ranking individuals and received access to their high-quality teas. On occasion, he even received Imperial Tribute Tea, which was deemed priceless and unobtainable except as a gift from the emperor’s kingdom.
The majority of Lu Tong’s poetry revolved around tea and the art of tea ceremonies.
His ardent devotion to tea was exemplified in a line from one of his poems:
“I care not a jot for immortal life, but only for the taste of tea.” – Lu Tong