Chinese Tea Sets
Apr 24, 2023
Chinese people use different kinds of tea wares with different kinds of teas. Green tea goes with white porcelain or celadon without a cover while scented tea with celadon or blue and white porcelain with a cover. Black tea goes well with purple clay ware with white inside glaze, or with white porcelain or warm colored wares or coffee wares. And Oolong tea is also excellent in purple clay ware. In other words, the harmonious combination of function, material, and color of tea ware is very essential to taste the essence of tea.
Trends of Tea Wares in Different Periods
Tea wares have been used for a long time in China. Tea drinking became more popular and pubic in the Tang Dynasty. In the palaces and nobles, tea wares made of metals were served and for civilians porcelain and earthen wares were commonly used.
Tang scholars preferred green porcelain as the material of tea cups from Shaoxing, Zhejiang province. This kind of green porcelain looks like jade with elegant design and exquisite decoration. Since the true color of tea was set off completely and beautifully in this dainty cup (ou in Chinese), it was listed as Number One in Lu Yu's Tea Classics. Concerning about the function, the size and design of the cup well suited to the tea drinking habit of that time allowing for cooking tea powder with green onion, ginger, dates, tangerine peels and peppermint, then drinking the whole liquor as the same as the soup.
The preference for green porcelain or white porcelain was suddenly changed to black glazed teacups in the Song Dynasty. Moreover, tea bowls became common with the shape of an upturned bell. They were glazed in black, dark-brown, grey, grey/white and white colors.
Then grey/white porcelain tea wares predominated in the Yuan Dynasty and white glazed tea wares became popular in the Ming Dynasty. Teapots which are made of porcelains and earth clay were very much in vogue during the middle of Ming Dynasty. Gilded multicolored porcelain produced in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province and the bodiless lacquer wares of Fujian Province emerged in the Qing Dynasty.
Due to the popular of tea drinking, various kinds of tea wares continued to develop, for example wares made of earthen clay, porcelains, copper, tin, jade, agata, lacquer, glass and ceramic, etc. All make a rich and colorful variety of tea wares in the history of tea-drinking in China. Among various kinds of tea wares, porcelain wares made in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi Province ranked first and brown earthen wares made in Yixing, Jiangsu Province took the top place for a long time.
Tea Wares in the World
Tea-wares were not only highly valued in the domestic market but also exported and well received by foreign countries. In Japan a special name were given to the porcelains – “Pearlite grayish porcelains”.
On the basis of grey porcelain of the Ming Dynasty, the multi-colored porcelains appeared. The products were known of their fine and thin wall and exquisite forms as well as their colorful and vivid drawings. They were also highly valued at home and abroad. Thanks to the porcelains exported, China won its name as “Country of Porcelains”.