Jingmai is a mountain in Lancang County of Pu Er Region of Yunnan. It is also bordering to Menghai County. The road distance from Menghai County to Jingmai Mountain is 83km. Jingmai become known to outside world as the puerh tea become hot. Before that, it was isolated and quiet. In 2003 the Taiwan 101 Tea Company established a plant in Jingmai to produce puerh tea harvested from old big tea trees, thus opened the window to outside world. More and more tea people and tourist come to visit Jingmai Mountain.
Jingmai mountain consists of two villages. One is Jing Mai village, the other is Mang Jing Village. Jingmai village is in the front part of the mountain, mostly residented by Thai Race and Mang Jing Village is in the rear part of the mountain, mostly residented by Bu Lang Race. According to the folk story, the history of planting tea in Jingmai Mountain was commenced by the ancestor of Bu Lang Race, Ba Ai Leng, who was a hero of his times, around 1300 years ago and married a princess (Qi Gong Zhu) of Thai Race. There are a lot of great stories of him when he was alive. Before he passed away, he gave a few tea seeds to his offsprings, asking them to plant tea and make a living by it for generations. Because he thought if he left them with gold and silver, they would be used up; if he left them with cattle and horse, they could be dying in the end. Tea is the most reliable stuff to bring sustainable income to his offsprings. Every year his offsprings, the tea farmers in Jingmai Mountain would hold ceremony to offer sacrifices to him as the beginning of new tea season. (When I was in Jingmai Mountain, I had ever been to the site of ceremony trying to find the tomb of the ancient ancestor. However the finding was in vain. Later the farmers told me the ancestor just lay underground there. There is no visible tomb on the ground. They offer sacrifice to one ancient tea tree growing there, as they believe the spirit of their ancestor is on the tree).
The elevation of Jingmai Mountain is 1500m. The mountain is quite steep. But surprisingly on the peak of the mountain, there is a big plain land, called as Da Ping Zhang by local farmers. According to some documentary of Thai, the Da Ping Zhang was ever an ancient tea market of South Yunnan 600 years ago. The tea was planted on the Da Ping Zhang and around areas. The earliest ones age more than one thousand years old. And the tea now grows well with other trees as a forestry.
I had been to the Jingmai Mountain for quite a few times in 2006-2012. To speak frankly, it was not the old big tea trees which impressed me most. There are many other places of Yunnan where grow old big tea trees. What impressed me most is ‘harmony’. I think I didn’t ever see a place where tea grows so harmoniously with nature, the farmers live so harmoniously with tea, and the history of a race is so well melted into tea.
Jingmai ancient tree tea garden was recognized as World Heritage in Sept.17, 2023 by UNESCO.
|▪||These photos were taken around 12 years ago. Maybe they show some more original looks of Jingmai than today.*|
This is the old tea tree, on which the farmers of Jingmai believe the spirit of their ancestor Ba Ai Leng live. They offer sacrifice to this tea tree every year.
Tags: Jing Mai