Tea sets originated in China and reached an admired state of high-art perfection around the 10th century A.D.
Over time, as different countries embraced drinking tea and its culture, many different styles of sets have developed and evolved. Following are some of the most notable styles of teaware by country from throughout history and up to the present.
For a more in-depth view of each style of teaware and the teaset origin, visit afternoonteaset.com.
The Chinese still lead the industry in fine porcelain teapots and cups with styles the feature exquisite, exotic detail and gorgeous coloring. In contrast to European styles, Chinese sets are generally smaller, lighter, and more highly detailed.
In Europe, the Dutch were the first to make tea into both a large market and a social activity. As a result, Dutch sets are known for their simple usability.
They are generally lightly colored, a bit larger than Chinese sets, and round-bottomed so that the tea stays warm longer. And since the Dutch have traditionally liked to have their tea outside, their teapots and cups tend to be a little more rustic and less delicate.
For many centuries, the Russians' love of tea was second only to that of the English. Russian sets are known for their sweeping, cross-hatched patterns and sleek, rounded curves. They're often large, relatively thick, and robust.
Meanwhile, the Russians were also among the first to make sets out of silver and gold, which were the favorites among the Russian royals for entertaining guests.
Although the Dutch were the first Europeans to experience a major tea craze, the English were the first to make tea drinking not only a leisure activity but a way of life.
The English traditionally drink tea multiple times per day, which means that their teapots and cups are typically built to last.
English sets are best known for their fluted shapes, flowery designs, and flat, rounded bottoms that make the vessels difficult to tip over.
When it comes to U.S. and Canadian craftsmanship, anything goes. While North American designers haven't traditionally been known for their distinctive designs, in recent years they have created some of the most interesting, eclectic, and beautiful modern tea sets on the market today.
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