|I'm a Little Teapot...
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|Nearly every home has one...many have more than one. Some even have vast
collections in every conceivable shape and form. I'm talking about the humble
|If the kitchen is the heart of the
home, then the teapot is most
definitely the soul. It turns the
simple act of brewing tea into an art of sorts.
For some reason, pouring tea from a teapot gives
the feel of elegance and quiet sophistication. It's
hard to explain, but it's a feeling you get - carried
back over generations, to a time when afternoon
tea was a time for gathering together to share the
news of the day.
I like to think of it as the social networking of old,
and it makes me want to go back to that time, if
even for a moment. Back when tea was brewed in
a beautiful china teapot and drunk from a china
cup, rather than a cardboard one. But I guess
that's just the romantic in me.
|The Chinese and China
|The earliest adaptation of the teapot we know today came from ewers, used for centuries in
China for holding wine.
From the ewer, the teapot evolved over thou-
sands of years. The word "china" (meaning
domestic pottery) originated in the late 16th
century when the Dutch began carrying car-
goes of tea from China to Europe.
Small, broad-based teapots with wide spouts,
packed with tea, were included with the ship-
ments. Called simply "china", this Chinese
stoneware was altogether new to Europe,
and Dutch potters immediately began their
hand at duplicating it.
Two such successful potters in particular, the
Eler's brothers, moved their business from
the Netherlands to Staffordshire, England,
making it the source for fine pottery. In their wake
came such impressive names as Wedgewood, Spode,
Worcester, Minton, and Denby.
But it wasn't an easy road. It took nearly a hundred years for the Eler's brothers and other
English potters to replicate not only fine bone china and stoneware, but also to discover the
secret to creating genuine fine translucent hard paste porcelain
invented by the Chinese under the Tang Dynasty.
Many of the early teapots replicated the Chinese designs of
mythological symbols and creatures, but later teapots reflected the
styles currently in vogue at that time - the 18th century rococo and
neoclassical shapes. And in the 19th century came the heavily
ornamental Victorian styles.
Today you can find just about any shape, color, theme or style you
desire. Everything from simple and practical, to highly decorated
collector pieces are available. From cars to show personalities, and
sports figures, to your favorite animal, flower, or style of house - it's
out there. For those who are collectors, it's not only fun to search,
but for some a passion.
So the next time you brew tea, whether in your simple, practical,
everyday teapot, or your grandma's delicate, fine, bone china, take a moment to reflect on the
ancient journey of the humble teapot. Enjoy.
|For a great selection of teapots - from decorative to
utilitarian, Yixing, and more, along with quality teas,
gifts, and accessories, visit:
The Tea Detective's Gift of Tea Store