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Handwritten tea label

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I can't read the small handwritten label on this compressed cake of tea. Wonder if anyone would be kind enough to take as stab at telling me what it says.

 

As to possible clues, the tea is a cake of Wuyi Rock Tea 武夷岩茶 from Fujian 福建。It's a high grade (I hope) of its type. This type of tea is a very rich, aromatic Wulong (or Oolong) tea 乌龙茶, similar in flavor and finish to the now-nearly-extinct Big Red Robe 大红袍 tea from that same mountain. 

 

In researching it I found that some cultivars are known as 水仙 (narcissus) and others are known as 北斗 (Big Dipper.) Not saying this is either of those, but am including the characters just in case they are part of what is handwritten here.

 

I asked the merchant what the label said at the time and he told me. But in the heat of the moment, I foolishly thought I would remember, no need to write it down. Now quite a few months have gone by, and when I brewed up some this morning, found that the label was a mystery.

 

Am reminded of a recent post (I think it was by @OneEye) about how knowing how to write can help in deciphering the scribbles of others. Not having paid my dues sufficiently in the calligraphy department hinders me on tasks like this.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

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imron

十年陈茶大红袍

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abcdefg

Amazing! What a feat! Many thanks! I can make out the original now with the aid of your "map."

 

Also, now I remember the teashop owner telling me this tea was 10 years old, so that fits. He said that, unlike most loose-leaf teas, the compressed cakes improved over time when properly stored. (Similarly true with Pu'er 普洱茶。)

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imron
how knowing how to write can help in deciphering the scribbles of others

It definitely helps, as you can rebuild the strokes of the character by following how the pen moves.  It also helps to be familiar with common simplifications that happen when writing for example note how the 小 part of 陈 and 茶 is written.

 

Context is also important. in the above example, 茶 stumped me for a bit because the right-falling stroke of the 人 part is very faint and was not apparent to me at first, after a bit of thinking based on the components I could recognise and the subject matter then it struck me.

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abcdefg

I see what you mean. It was still a neat trick, and I'm quite impressed.

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imron

You too could learn :-)

 

I imagine the book I linked to in that thread: 实用硬笔字60小时训练, should still be available in mainland China.  You don't need to follow it too thoroughly if you're not bothered about learning to write, but if you go through it and practise examples from several of the chapters as you go then your ability to read other people's handwriting will increase immensely.

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roddy

Oops, accidentally gave imron a red mark. Someone cancel that out for me...

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abcdefg

Will do Roddy. No red marks for Imron! Only green!

 

I probably need to learn to read handwriting organically, as a byproduct of being able to write better myself. As it is, the only time I write Hanzi with a pen is when I go to the post office and need to put my return address on a parcel that I'm sending back to the US. It's a ritual exercise that I go through every few months; sort of a test; I even practice the night before.

 

Maybe I'll try Skritter again, even though I consider it bitter medicine.

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imron

The thing about Skritter is that it will teach you to write standard printed characters.  That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it won't help too much with learning to read handwriting.  The book mentioned above is really good at breaking down the different types of handwriting you're likely to encounter and how certain components get simplified when writing quickly.

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abcdefg

How embarrassing. You got to solve the puzzle not once, but twice.

 

That tea is real hard to brew well and I only dig it out for special occasions. Didn't realize it had been quite that long, however.

 

Will see if I can find 实用硬笔字60小时训练。

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