It could appear as if teapots have been round so long as tea itself, however that is not really the case. We all use them, however have you learnt once they originated? Let’s get somewhat deeper into the historical past of teapots.
Teapot History- Song Dynasty to Ming Dynasty
During the Song dynasty (960-1279) tea leaves weren’t processed they manner they’re right now. Leaves have been steamed, floor, and molded into brick varieties. In order to arrange the tea, items of the brick have been damaged off and boiled in cooking vessels.
You could also be considering you have seen teapots from this time interval in books or museums, however these have been almost definitely ewers used for water or wine. The form of those vessels will play an essential position, nevertheless.
Instead of the age-old customized of steaming the leaves, the monks on Songluo Mountain in Anhui province found that stir-roasting them in a dry sizzling wok improved the colour, perfume, and taste of the completed tea.
Tea manufacturing within the Wuyi mountains used the brand new methodology the Songluo monks created, and after a lot trial and error semi-oxidized oolong teas have been born. The free leaves wanted a vessel for delicate brewing, as a way to extract the best physique and taste of the tea. Through this necessity, the teapot was born.
Small teapots resembling the ewers I discussed earlier have been developed within the metropolis of Yixing, in Jiangsu province of China round 1500. It appears doubtless that the water and wine vessels have been used as a mannequin for tea.
If you are a Yixing pot collector you recognize the vessels are created from reddish or purple ‘zisha’ clay (zisha interprets to ‘purple sand pot’). The clay has a particular mineral composition that makes it very best for brewing tea, and creates a porous materials good for capturing the essence of the tea. The teapots have been very small (and nonetheless are right now), made for private use. Small porcelain cups have been used to sip with, however I’ve additionally seen point out of individuals consuming straight from the teapot’s spout. I would like to present this a strive! Maybe at residence when nobody is trying…
It’s really powerful to say for sure if teapots have been actually created in 1500, as the good James Norwood Pratt argues within the New Tea Lover’s Treasury:
It strains credulity to imagine so ingenious a individuals because the Chinese by no means thought to brew tea of their so-called wine ewers.
That is sensible, does not it? Since teapots look a lot like an ewer, would not somebody have thought to make use of one for tea earlier than 1500? But, I’ll depart that for Norwood to debate.
Teapot History- Western Europe and Beyond
Once Chinese porcelain began making its solution to European international locations (to be taught extra concerning the historical past of European porcelain you’ll be able to try my previous post), Europeans could not get sufficient of the attractive porcelain. They raced to determine find out how to create their very own porcelain, which ultimately led to designing teapots and different teaware.
The pots initially exported to Europe have been small with straight spouts, much like the Yixing types. The giant porcelain and silver types seen right now got here a lot later, when tea consuming turned a part of the European life-style.
There is a lot extra to be taught and talk about about teapot historical past and design, nevertheless it’ll must be saved for later posts. Next time you employ a teapot take into consideration the way it developed and the place it got here from. Maybe also have a sip from the spout!