- This well-researched and lavishly illustrated book, by renowned photographer Michael Freeman and writer and academic Dr. Selena Ahmed covers the production of tea, its history, culture and the arduous journey through some of the world's most spectacular landscapes and traditional cultures, including Yunnan, Sichuan, Tibet, northern Burma and Assam
In the seventh century, during the Chinese Tang Dynasty, Tibetans began drinking fermented black tea, a valuable addition to their restricted diet of meat and milk. Beginning as an aristocratic delicacy, it quickly became a staple, but it had to be imported, first from southern Yunnan, with a secondary route from Ya'an in Sichuan. The Chinese on the other hand, had a need for war horses and the sturdy Tibetan horses were ideal. As a result a two-way trade route arose during the Song Dynasty and became known as the Cha Ma Dao, the Tea-Horse Road, a 2,300 kilometre journey from southern Yunnan to Lhasa at its core.
Michael Freeman, whose previous publications with River Books include Ancient Angkor and Palaces of the Gods, has specialised in Asia for most of his career, and has published more than 100 books.