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The world in a teacup: Paris show digs into brew's roots

Published on Oct 20, 2012 10:49 AM

PARIS (AFP) - It can be green, black, white or red and, after water, is the most widely consumed drink on the planet.

Tea as we know it was born in China 4,000 years ago and a newly opened exhibition at a Paris museum traces the highlights of its history and how it conquered the world.

The exhibition concentrates on China and, according to its curator Jean-Paul Desroches, reveals "distant treasures" such as paintings from the National Palace Museum in Taipei in Taiwan and "others which were hidden in the storerooms" of host museum, the Guimet Museum of Asian Art.

The show includes a Ton of Tea - a dense block of tea leaves compressed into a cube by Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei, and a short film by the Franco-Vietnamese director Tran Anh Hung (The Scent of Green Papaya).

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