• by vinux

Tea utensils have evolved over time, from simple vessels made out of clay to the sophisticated and elegant pieces seen today. Tea culture began in China around the 3rd century BC. During this time, tea was prepared in simple ceramic dishes that were hand-crafted and used for boiling water or brewing tea leaves.

As tea spread through East Asia and Europe, utensils became more elaborate and ornate. In Japan, Matcha tea was first introduced during the late 12th century by Buddhist monks who popularized a ceremony called “sadou” – a ritualistic brewing process involving several different utensils such as a chawan (tea bowl), chasen (bamboo whisk), temomi (wooden spoon), and fukusa (silk cloth).

Over centuries of refinement and innovation, an array of modern day teaware has come into existence. Many of these pieces are now highly sought after for their aesthetic beauty, functionality and meaningful symbolism associated with them.
History of Tea Utensils! Before ancient people drank tea, they had to first roast the tea leaves on the stove. The method of drinking tea before the Tang Dynasty was to grind the tea leaves into powder and make tea cakes or tea strings with oil paste and rice flour. When drinking, it was broken up and boiled with condiments. When did roasting of tea leaves begin? There has been debate among various schools since the Tang Dynasty. As Song Ouyang Xiu said in Collected Ancient Records Epilogue: “The history of seeing tea before is from Wei and Jin.” Later, people saw “tea roaster” in Collected Records of Sweeping Survey during the Wei Dynasty. Therefore, it is believed that roasting of tea began during the period of Wei and Jin Dynasties. According to Nanchuang Ji Tan (502 A.D.), drinking tea started during Liang Tianjian’s rule; while according to Wang Bao’s Congyao (Reconciliation Agreement), there were words such as “cooking tea completely,” indicating that a set of utensils were needed for roasting tealeaves. This shows that there were already cooking teaware in the Western Han Dynasty. By the time of Tang Dynasty, together with the vigorous development of drinking culture, steaming and roasting techniques had become more mature. According to Hua Man Lu (Painting Manual Book), “In 785 A.D., Chang Tung was appointed as Administrator for Jianzhou; he then started steaming and grinding for research and called it grinding ointment tea; afterwards it became a cake shape, so it is called one string.” Tea cakes or strings must be boiled using teaware before they can be consumed. This undoubtedly promoted reform in teaware, thus entering an era with new types of teaware.

Since the late Middle Ages, the Song, Yuan and Ming Dynasties used a copper “teapot” for brewing tea. According to the Comprehensive Records of Long-lasting Objects, since the Song and Yuan Dynasties, the teapot was called “teapot” or “wind pot”. Lu You’s “Passing Zenan Poetry” reads: “Tea pot smoke knows happiness, chess sound sparse knows pain.” According to this, there was a name “teapot” in the Song Dynasty Lu You year. In the Yuan Dynasty, there were famous teapots such as “Jiang Zu Tea Pot”. The Eight Notes of Zunsheng said: “In the Yuan Dynasty, Jiang Niangzi and Wang Jihai from Hangzhou had casting methods that were famous at that time. They mainly polished the web surface with wax to make it smooth and beautiful. They also had delicate patterns like brocade on the teapot. The method imitates antiquity and is visually acceptable. It also says ‘refining copper is also pure…or do it’ referring to gilding. From this we can see that teapots in Yuan Dynasty are very well made. By the Ming Dynasty, society generally used “copper teapots”, which were characterized by exquisite carving techniques. One of them was a royal copper teapot in Ming Dynasty which was most luxurious. “Tao Tie” is an evil beast name in ancient times, which is often seen carved in ancient bells and tripods. It is an exquisite carving decoration. From this we can see that Ming Dynasty teapots mostly imitate ancient models and have outstanding carving skills.

In addition to brewing tea with teapots in China since late Middle Ages, there are specialized water pots called “soup pots” for boiling water. People commonly called it “Cha Chui” or “Yaozi” at that time; some people call it “Liao Zi” as well. People used ding (large cooking vessel) and huo (pan) for boiling water in ancient times . Huainanzi’s Shoushanxun reads: ‘Taste one lap meat and know one huo taste’. Gao You notes: ‘There are enough ding days without enough huo days’ (Ming Qing period, some parts of southern China called ‘hue’ as pot).

According to historical records, it wasn’t until late Middle Ages that ancient methods of boiling water with ding,huo gradually replaced by “soup pot” . Some authors think that our country appeared “bubble tea” (i.e., point tea) method around Yuan Dynasty , so utensils for boiling water changed accordingly(referring to reconfiguring). But according to historical records collected by us , utensils for boiling water existed during Southern Song . Here I would like to quote two historical records as evidence . Luo Dajing’s Helin Yulu recorded : Before,people use open-mouth ding,huo for boiling water , easy for observing degree of boiling ; however now(Southern song ) change using pots , because narrow mouth of pot makes hard to observe degree of boiling inside , therefore must rely on sound of boiled water judging degree ,Helin Yulu further recorded : Lu Yu’s way takes tea powder firstly ,so take secondary boiled as proper intensity adding tea powder .Lu Yu is a person lived Tang dynasty , author og Tea Book , regarded as founder of Chinese tea culture during Tang dynasty 。A tea master still using huo even at Tang dynasty indicate he never used soup pot yet . Moreover according Su Shi’s poem 《Stir-Frying Tea Songs》 talking about boiling water saying 、Crab eye has passed fish eye birth,Buzzz as pine wind chime……Silver bottle pouring soup boast 2nd、not known ancients stir-frying meaning 。This literary work shows even at Song dynasty already use soup pot for boilig water .

In the Ming Dynasty, it was common to use a teapot called “Tongping” to boil water. The styles and varieties of Tongping also increased. According to the metal types, there were tin pots, lead pots and copper pots. At that time, the shape of tea pot was mostly bamboo tube shape. Wen Zhenheng, the author of Changwu Zhi, said that this kind of bamboo tube-shaped teapot “not only does not leak fire but also is convenient for infusing (tea).” It can be seen that the teapot has both boiling water and tea infusing functions. At the same time in Ming Dynasty, porcelain teapots were also used, but because “although porcelain pot does not lose soup flavor when boiling water, it is not suitable and elegant”, so in fact porcelain teapots were not used in daily life in Ming Dynasty. There are also some peculiar works in “Tongping” in Ming Dynasty. As seen in Song Gu Lian Zhu Collection: “one mouth can drink up all the water from South of Yangtze River; Pang Lao never knew himself; broken pieces like mud gazing at sky; three mouths tea pot in Gongxian County.” Ming Dynasty even had a tea pot with three mouths,which was so extraordinary that it was beyond practical life. Undoubtedly, this strange teapot could only be used as a collection decoration and nothing more

In ancient times, the term “tea ware” mainly referred to vessels used for serving, brewing and drinking tea. This concept is basically the same as today’s definition of tea ware. Tea wares since Tang and Song dynasties were mainly made of ceramics, while metal tea wares were rarely seen. Because metal teapots are far inferior to those made of ceramics in terms of making tea, they were not suitable to be placed on the so-called elegant tea tables. Since Tang Dynasty, major changes have been made to tea wares, including teapots, teacups (cups) and teabowls. These utensils are directly related to the rise of tea culture.