Why 357g?

One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

Why 357g?

Postby tst » Nov 4th, '11, 14:07

I understand beengs (and puerh in general for that matter) come in all shapes and sizes, but does anyone know why the "standard" or typical cake is 357 grams (12.59+ ounces)?

Just curious I guess.


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Re: Why 357g?

Postby brandon » Nov 4th, '11, 14:11

357 g per cake, 7 cakes to a tong = 2.5KG

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Re: Why 357g?

Postby tst » Nov 4th, '11, 14:16

Ahh, I see now. Makes sense, thanks.


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Re: Why 357g?

Postby zzenster » Nov 5th, '11, 02:20

1 tong = 2.5 kg
12 tong = 1 big basket = 30kg

In old days, people used donkeys to carry puerh tea. One donkey carried 60 kg of tea. That is one basket on each side of donkey... i read it somewhere.

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Re: Why 357g?

Postby zhi zheng » Nov 15th, '11, 08:24

There are at least 3 different explanations: The most plausible seems to be that a cake was 7 'liang' (16 liang in a jin, or a Catty, then equivalent to 1.3 pounds or 600g) and 7 cakes in a tong made 49 liang.

For sure, kilos and grams were not units of measurement in ancient China. Some people say that originally there were 8 bing in a tong and one was paid as a tax or levy. Certainly it was common for muleteers to pay (generally in goods) for safe passage through different areas.

Another explanation, that it was purely numerological, is possible; 7 is certainly a good number in Chinese culture.

I have yet to see a good explanation for why there were 6 or 12 tong in a set or jian, other than the previously mentioned 'how much a mule could carry' reason - it was thought that a mule or pony could not carry more than 60 catties - but the methods of pressing and packing tea have also varied over time.

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