The earliest historical records related to tea ware were in “Tong Yue” written by Wang Bao in Chinese West Han Dynasty. In Qin and Han Dynasties, people pounded the dried tea leaf pancake into pieces and put into a clay pot, poured boiling water in and had it brewed with scallion, ginger, and tangerine. However the clay pot was not necessary to be used for brewing tea exclusively.
In Tang Dynasty, while common people used clay pot for brewing tea, the royal and rich families started to use gold, silver, and cooper tea ware to show off their wealth. In mid-Tang, Yue Ci ( porcelain-clay ware from ZheJiang China ) became extremely popular due to its light blue color and excellent quality. Tea was served in “tea bowl”.
During Song Dynasty, while the tea main stream of tea ware style was similar to that of Tang, it started a new style of tea ware called “black porcelain”, with black color. A smaller tea bowl called “Cha Zhan” replaced bigger “tea bowl” of Tang and was made of cooper, iron, or silver.
Ming Dynasty had a dramatic change for the color of the porcelain-clay tea ware from Tang Dynasty’s light blue to be white in order to appreciate the loose tea leaf with the fresh green color. In Qing Dynasty, lacquer tea ware was invented in FuJian China, and the style of tea ware tended toward classical and simple. Purple clay tea ware, or Yixing Tea Ware started to be popular.
Types of Tea Ware by Material
Porcelain Tea Ware started since East Han Dynasty, and had been formed two style: southern light-blue and northern white, with southern light-blue porcelain tea ware much superior. Song Dynasty developed these two style and almost replace the northern white porcelain with “black porcelain.” In Ming Dynasty, northern white porcelain came back over light-blue and black.
Purple clay tea ware probably started in Tang Dynasty, but had been almost ignored until around 1600’s in Ming Dynasty when people found out Chinese purple clay tea ware had the unique function to preserve the aroma of tea. Purple clay tea ware soon became the art of tea ware and has been the ideal tea ware collectables for tea lovers.
Glass tea ware has been greatly populated due to the development of modern glass industry. It also provided the ability for loose tea leaf lovers to observe the process of brewing tea while drinking. It also much easier to make and much lower cost than clay or porcelain tea ware, and has occupied a major market share in our drinking ware market.