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Teapots have become a fundamental part of tea ware around the world. It is believed the oldest tea pots were Chinese liquor decanters which had been part of the culture for many centuries. The material used for tea pot production is diverse reflecting local customs, availability, fashions and budgets. Copper, iron, steel, silver and even gold have been popular metals, for many silver and iron are some of the best materials for the perfect cup.

In the West, porcelain become the dominant material of choice, there are many reasons for this, though it is argued that the primary factor was that porcelain was excellent, low cost ballast for the ships of the day. Initially much of the ballast was discarded on arrival, though soon companies such as East India company saw the opportunity to make additional profits to those from the primary cargo's of silk and tea. Fine Chinese ceramics were the talk of European cities throughout the 17th century. Ceramics offered people a taste of the exotic far east and a fashion soon grew, with it desire for new ever changing designs. Tea sets became increasingly extravagant, bring new complex rites and etiquette.

Fine imported China ware was out of the reach of the majority, which brought about local European potters emulating the wares. The stone and earthen wares were much courser than the Chinese though this encouraged the use of imaginative glazes.

Many potters strived to find the secret to the delicate Chinese porcelain, but it was not until the start of the 18th century that Josiah Spode formulated bone China which was change European production. During the 17th and 18th century many of the famous names of European wares rose to become household names, including Delft, Meissen, Sevres and British firms Derby, Minton and Worcester. Possibly one of the most influential family's on British porcelain, were Wedgewood. Their innovation brought about the industrialisation of porcelain and refinement of hard paste porcelain which was to even more closely replicate the pure whites of China's famous wares.

Sections In Teapots

Zi Sha Teapots - An Introduction

ZiSha 紫砂 is one of the best and most renowned materials that teapots in China can be made from. The most famous source of ZiSha is YiXing city 宜兴市, formerly YangXian 陽羡 in JiangSu province. There...

Zi Sha Teapots - History

Zi sha, purple sand, use dates back many millennia but the it is only in the last 500 or so years that zi sha clay has become a popular material for teapot production. Many point to the fact that during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), around 500 year...

Zi Sha Tea Pots - Styles, shapes, sizes

One key aspect of zi sha is its natural, uncomplicated appearance, which is very much in contrast to some of the fine porcelain tea pots and tea sets that are often elaborately painted. This appearance reflects the purity and admiration o...

ZiSha Teapots - ZiSha Clay Types

ZiSha clay (紫砂泥) comes in an often bewildering range of different types. In this section, Wan Ling Tea House aims to give you an overview of some of the main ZiSha clay types, the characteristics, clay names and general info...

Zi Sha Teapots - YiXing Teapot Preparation & Care

ZiSha teapots require some basic preparation and attention to get the best from them. Cared for, zi sha will become ever more alluring and reward regular use with impressive results. Wan Ling Tea House hopes to offer a few basic points and tip...

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