Chinese people think different teas prefer different tea wares. Green tea prefers glass tea ware 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 performs best in purple clay tea ware.
Tea wares mainly consist of ovens, teapots, cups, tea bowls and trays and so on. Tea wares had been used for a long time in China. In line with the popular of tea drinking, various kinds of tea wares went on to develop, such as wares made of earthen clay, porcelains, copper, tin, jade, agata, lacquer, glass and ceramic, etc, All of which makes a rich and colorful varieties 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 occupied the top place.
Brown earthen wares of Yixing have an interesting history that dates back to the Sung Dynasty (960 – 1279) when purple clay was first mined around Lake Taihu in China. Their unpretentious earthy tones and subtle beauty flourished and matured in the Ming and Qing Dynasties (1573 – 1911). Along with the earliest tea shipments to Europe came distinctive red earthenware teapots, initiating a tea drinking tradition that continues today. A traditional favorite of local scholars and artists, the pots are made from the signature clay of Yixing, an area situated 120 miles northwest of Shanghai in Jiangsu province. In the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, scholars variously praised, made, inscribed and collected this renowned classic Chinese art form. Now as then, each piece is shaped by hand on a potter’s wheel and left unglazed, both because it makes better tea and because doing so allows the color of the clay to shine through.
Porcelain Tea-wares of Jingdezhen In the early part of the Tang Dynasty white porcelain had been regarded as a ” inmitation Jade tea”. In the Song Dynasty white/grey glazed produced in Jingdezhen predominated the market. Jingdezhen, as a porcelain capital, made its name known to the world by its grey glazed porcelains with flower patterns since the Yuan Dynasty. Tea-wares of this kind 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 as” Pearlite grayish porcelain”.
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 Porcelain” since then.
Production of white glazed porcelain tea-wares was thriving in Jingdezhen in the Qing Dynasty. Two new products-“enamela” and “translucent color” to be decorated on the glaze of porcelains were innovated and the multi-colored enamel porcelain tea-wares had reached to their perfection for their thin body wall, crystal pure white and classic styles. They were used only in the royal palaces and could hardly be found in the houses of common people at that time.
Tea, either black or green, infused in those rich varieties of tea-wares made in Jingdezhen or Yixing not only provides warmth and taste, but also gives tranquility and esthetic satisfaction because of their texture and colors. Nowadays, tea wares made of gold, silver, copper, purple clay, porcelain, glass, lacquer and other materials are available.
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