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Still Life: Tea Set, ca. 1781–83, painting by Jean-Étienne Liotard
Still Life: Tea Set, ca. 1781–83, painting by Jean-Étienne Liotard
Russian tea set; by Peter Carl Fabergé; made before 1896; silver gilt and opaque cloisonne enamel; Cleveland Museum of Art (USA)
Russian tea set; by Peter Carl Fabergé; made before 1896; silver gilt and opaque cloisonne enamel; Cleveland Museum of Art (USA)
Gold and enamel tea set made by David Andersen in the 1930s, as a royal gift from the Norwegian Crown Prince to President Roosevelt
Gold and enamel tea set made by David Andersen in the 1930s, as a royal gift from the Norwegian Crown Prince to President Roosevelt
Chinese style doll-sized tea set
Chinese style doll-sized tea set
A silver tea set
A silver tea set

A tea set or tea service is a collection of matching teaware and related utensils used in the preparation and serving of tea. The traditional components of a tea set may vary between societies and cultures.

History

The accepted history[1] of the tea set begins in China during the Han Dynasty (206–220 BC). At this time, tea ware was made of porcelain and consisted of two styles: a northern white porcelain and a southern light blue porcelain. These ancient tea sets were not the creamer/sugar bowl companions that are now commonly used, but were rather bowls that would hold spiced or plain tea leaves, which would then have water poured over them. The bowls were multi-purpose, and used for a variety of cooking needs. In this period, tea was mainly used as a medicinal elixir, not as a daily drink for pleasure's sake.

It is believed the teapot was developed during the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD). An archaeological dig turned up an ancient kiln that contained the remnants of a Yixing teapot. Yixing teapots, called Zi Sha Hu in China and Purple Sand teapots in the U.S., are perhaps the most famous teapots. They are named for a tiny city located in Jiangsu Province, where a specific compound of iron ore results in the unique coloration of these teapots. They were fired without a glaze and were used to steep specific types of oolong teas. Because of the porous nature of the clay, the teapot would gradually be tempered by using it for brewing one kind of tea. This seasoning was part of the reason to use Yixing teapots. In addition, artisans created fanciful pots incorporating animal shapes.

The Song Dynasty also produced exquisite ceramic teapots and tea bowls in glowing glazes of brown, black and blue. A bamboo whisk was employed to beat the tea into a frothy confection highly prized by the Chinese.

Chinese Yixing tea set

This is a Chinese Yixing tea set used to serve guest which contains the following items.

See also

References

  1. ^ Tea Set History Archived 2006-11-19 at the Wayback Machine, by Miriam Ellis, 2006