- by vinux
Tea sets, which in ancient times referred to various tools used for picking, making, storing and drinking tea, now refer specifically to special utensils related to brewing. The general requirement of tea sets is a combination of practicality and artistry, striving for beneficial soup quality and an antique aesthetic.
The influence of teaware on tea soup mainly lies in two aspects. Firstly, it is reflected in the color of teaware contributing to the appearance of tea soup. For example, blue and white porcelain can make tea soup appear green (when tea was originally reddish). With the development of tea-making process and planting techniques, the original color of tea changes, so does that of teaware. Secondly, the material of teaware affects the taste and aroma of tea soup. The material should not only be hard and durable but also should not damage the quality of tea.
Chinese teaware, with a variety of types, beautiful shapes and both practical and aesthetic values, has been favored by tea lovers of all ages. The use, maintenance, appreciation and collection of teaware has become a special knowledge that has been passed down through generations.
Porcelain Tea Set
Ceramic teaware can also be divided into white porcelain teaware, blue-and-white porcelain teaware, and black porcelain teaware, etc.
White porcelain teaware: White porcelain is most famously known for its ceramics from Jingdezhen, while other teaware such as Hunan Liling, Hebei Tangshan and Anhui Qimen each have their own unique characteristics.
Blue Porcelain Teaware: The main production area of blue porcelain is in Zhejiang. One of the most popular types is called “Jitou Liuzi” teapot with a spout.
Black Porcelain Tea Set: Unique style and elegance of the Black Porcelain Rabbit Hair Teapot, with its thick porcelain and good insulation performance, it is a beloved by those who practice tea ceremony.
Bamboo and Wooden Tea Ware
In the past, in rural areas, including tea-producing areas, many people used bamboo or wooden bowls to make tea. It was inexpensive and nice-looking, economical and practical. However, modern times have seen less use of this. As for wooden cans and bamboo cans for storing tea, they can still be seen everywhere. Especially the Huangyang wooden cans and Erhuang bambooslice tea cans as art pieces are both valuable gifts to give to friends and family members as well as having a certain practical value.
The Yixing purple sand tea set is a standout among ceramics, having emerged in the early Northern Song period and becoming hugely popular in the Ming Dynasty. Unlike ordinary pottery, it is made from local purple clay, red clay and Tuanshan clay without glazing on either side, and is fired at a high temperature to make it tightly sealed, with delicate texture that does not leak and has invisible pores. Long-term use can absorb tea juice and store its flavor; it heats up slowly so as not to burn hands; when making tea on hot days, it won’t easily become sour; even when subjected to sudden temperature changes, it will not crack; and if necessary, it can even be put directly on a stove for boiling. Yixing purple sand tea sets also feature simple yet elegant shapes with rustic colors. They come in various styles such as bamboo knots, lotus roots, pine-grain segments and shapes reminiscent of ancient bronze wares from the Shang and Zhou Dynasties.
Lacquerware Tea Set
Lacquered tea wares originated in the Qing Dynasty, mainly produced in the area of Fuzhou, Fujian. The lacquered tea wares from Fuzhou are colorful and varied, including “Baosha Sparkle”, “Jinsimaron”, “Yuebian Jinsi”, “Antique Porcelain”, “Carving and Inlay”, “High Relief” and “Embedded Silver”. Especially after creating new techniques such as the ruby-like “Chijin Sha” and “Dark Flowers”, they become more brilliant and attractive, making people fond of them.
Metal Tea Set
Tea utensils made of metal such as gold, silver, copper and tin, especially tin, have great advantages as containers for tea. Tin cans are mostly made with small mouths and long necks, and the lids are in the shape of cylinders which provide good sealing effects against moisture, oxidation, light and odors. During the Tang Dynasty, water was served in silver pots for drinking Guzhu tea and Jinshaquan for the imperial palaces. It was mainly due to its durability but its expensive cost prohibited ordinary people from using it.
Glass Tea Ware
In modern times, glassware has developed greatly. With its transparent texture, glittering gloss, great plasticity in shape and various forms, it has a wide range of uses. Making tea with glass cups, the bright color of the tea soup, the tender and soft tea leaves, the up and down movement of the tea leaves in the whole brewing process, and the gradual expansion of the leaves can be seen without any doubt. It can be said to be a dynamic art appreciation. Especially when brewing all kinds of famous teas, crystal-clear glassware is misty in cup, clear and greenish-blue in color with buds standing erectly. It is enjoyable to look at it and quite interesting. Moreover, glass cups are inexpensive yet good quality which are welcomed by consumers. The disadvantage of glassware is that they are easy to break and they are hotter than porcelain.