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Tea and Teapots – A Potted History

It’s perhaps difficult for Westerners to separate the teapot from the ritual of tea. But in reality, few homes today actually utilise the teapot, preferring instead to dunk a teabag in a mug and leave it at that.

However, there are still many purists who choose loose leaves over bags and teapots over cups and luckily, manufacturers are happy to provide a huge selection of different styles for them in addition to other tea-making-tools.

The teapot first originated in around 1500 with the development of the Yixing teapot in the Jiangsu Province of China.

These pots were made from a purplish-red clay called Zisha and still are today. Zisha was originally chosen as the perfect clay for teapots because of its absorbent qualities.

For this reason, teas were only brewed in their own dedicated pots…nobody would brew mint tea in a pot meant for green tea because the delicate flavours would be compromised.

The pots of the 1500s were not meant for shared tea though…they were designed for individual use and the spout was designed to be drunk from! Each person would carry their own pot and make their tea in it.

It wasn’t until around 1644 that the original, plain designs of the Yixing teapots began to change and artists began to paint them with decorative scenes which gradually became more and more extravagant with gold details and more elaborate scenery being added.

In Europe, it wasn’t until the 17th century that people were introduced to the fine teapots from China when the East India Company used them as ballasts for their cargos of tea.

Europeans used these pots until the invention of Porcelain and soon afterwards, the creation of more and more unusual and novelty teapots became a popular pastime amongst the potteries of Europe.

People vied with one another to produce the most amusing or beautiful teapot for their table and some amazing creations are to be found in museums today.

Luponde stock a wide array of pretty and stylish teapots for your pleasure.