In Tiansheng the eighth year (1030 AD) Cai Xiang obtain the degree of jinshi. His highest rank was Duanmingdian Xueshi, (secretariat Drafter of Duanming Court ) in charge of written communication of imperial government.
Cai Xiang had the reputation as the greatest caligrapher in the Song Dynasty.
During the Chingli reign (1042-1048 AD), Cai Xiang was the Officer of Transportation ( Zhuanyunshi) in Fujian. While acting as a prefect in Fujian, he also was in charge of overseeing the construction of the Wan-an Bridge at Quanzhou.
He pioneered the manufacturing of small Dragon Tribute Tea Cake of superlative quality, as it was reputed to be harder to obtain than gold. In his Tea Note written between 1049-1053, he criticized the traditional method of mixing small amount of Dryobalanops aromatica camphor into tea cake:
"Tea has intrinsic aroma. But tribute tea manufacturers like to mix small amount of Dryobalanops aromatica camphor, supposedly to enhance the aroma. The local people of Jian'an never mix any incense into tea, afraid to robe the natural aroma of tea".
"Tea abhors incense".
Works of Cai Xiang Editar
- Calligraphy: Wan'an Bridge Report Tablet
- Poetry: Collected Works of Cai Zhonghuei
- Essay: Tea Note (1049-1053)