Zdeněk Thoma & Michal Thoma

Zdeněk Thoma (1938), a Czech photographer, writer and traveller who lives and works in Prague.

Zdeněk Thoma has written three books based on his travels in Asia. His photographs have been included in many prestigious publications on oriental culture, including The Art of Japanese Gardens (the first edition was published in 1981, the most recent revised edition in 2004), China (1991), Ikebana and Bonsai (1992), Nepal – A Kingdom beneath the Himalayas (1996), A Japanese Mosaic (2002) and The Story of Tea (2002). He is also the co-author of The World of Tibetan Buddhism (1996) and The Art of Chinese Gardens (1998). He has also enjoyed success with his photographs of his own country, featured in the books Prague Yesterday and Today (1991), Czechia (2002) and Prague Gems (2004). Many of the books he has worked on have been published in English, French, German and Japanese.

His work also includes exhibitions. Collections of his photographs (The Charm of Japanese Gardens, Touches of the Himalayan Wind, Gardens of Tranquil Enticement, The Taste of Tea = The Taste of Zen, etc.) have been exhibited in over seventy galleries and museums in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Austria and Japan.

Zdeněk Thoma is a well-known lover of tea. His journeys have provided many photographs of the culture and philosophy associated with tea. Those photographs, and the knowledge acquired over the years, formed the basis for a book on the history of this unique beverage which he wrote with his wife Soña and son Michal. This large and lavishly illustrated book, The Story of Tea, was published in the Czech Republic in 2002 to great acclaim, and it won a literary award.

Michal Thoma (1979) has written and photographed for the last ten years. He is primarily interested in cultural anthropology. Many of his articles from his travels in Asia – Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, and Turkey – have been published in Czech journals. He is co-author of The Story of Tea and a number of articles on tea.

Tea in the First Sense

Dilmah tea, the symbol of Pure Ceylon Tea in over 100 countries around the world, unveils Tea in the First Sense, an innovative endeavour by the family tea company Dilmah, in their mission to bring the beauty of tea, nature’s finest beverage, to the world.

Tea in the First Sense is an art and photography exhibition featuring tea plantations in Sri Lanka. The exhibition, commissioned by Dilmah, will tour the world as part of a Dilmah mission to share with a global audience the aesthetic beauty of tea.

This project has a deeper significance for it is part of a Dilmah effort to highlight the inequity in the tea category. A brand known for its integrity, Dilmah sought to overturn a system in which the producer became an exploited raw material supplier. In 1988 Founder of Dilmah Merrill J Fernando launched his Dilmah brand, in Australia, subsequently reaching over 100 countries in the world. Dilmah is today recognised as a role model in ethical trade.

The Company strives to bring quality back to tea and in so doing to improve the fortunes of Ceylon’s historic tea industry and its workers. Engaged in extensive social welfare via the MJF Charitable Foundation (www.mjffoundation.org). Dilmah is convinced that by making consumers appreciate Ceylon and her teas, demand for quality Ceylon Tea can be increased, helping tea producers get a better price for their crop. Ultimately that is fairer than any notion of fair-trade and is the most tangible way of bringing a smile to the faces of workers in the industry and their families. Dilmah is also working towards a more sustainable use of the environment through Dilmah Conservation which is promoting biodiversity, species/habitat protection & awareness of sustainability by encouraging a harmonious co-existence of man and nature (www.dilmahconservation.org).

Tea in the First Sense is part of a project to highlight the heritage of Ceylon Tea and educate consumers on the health and other benefits in quality Ceylon Tea. The first stage of this project was the History of Ceylon Tea website which preserves in one of the world’s largest internet tea websites, a century of literature on Ceylon Tea. Tea in the First Sense captures through both brush and lens, the endearing character and charm of the Sri Lankan Tea plantations.