The tea plant was first cultivated in India and exported to China during the fourth century. Merchants traveling the trade routes spread tea from China
into Japan and southeastern Asia. In the early 1600’s, Dutch traders began importing tea into Holland, and shared small quantities with Britain and
France. The East India Company developed into a major importer of tea to Britain.
First used for medicinal purposes, the infusion of tea leaves developed during the Ming Dynasty in China (1368-1644). The evolution of the teapot also began during that period. Teapots were originally designed for single usage, and clay teapots from the YiXing region of China are among the earliest known forms.
In the 1700’s the British began using silver tea services and developed the serving of tea into a ritual commonly known as “afternoon tea”. The tea was served from the ornate silver teapots into delicate bone china cups and savory, light sandwiches, scones or cakes were served on a tiered cake stand.
Colonization by the British brought tea to America, and it was taxed heavily. The famous Boston Tea Party was a revolt against an increase in British taxation on tea imported into America.
Each and every teapot contains the same features – a bowl to steep the tea leaves in water, a lid, a handle and a spout to pour through. Teapots can be found in a wide number of designs and mediums.
©Karen Lawrence 2012