China Tea Wares

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though not as strict as the tea ceremony in japan, certain rules govern the chinese understanding of tea. take tea wares as an example. green tea goes with white porcelain or celadon without a cover; 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 is also excellent in purple clay ware. in a word, the harmonious combination of function, material, and color of tea ware is essential to excellent tea.

tea wares consist of ovens, tea rollers, teapots, cups, tea bowls, and trays and so on. nowadays with the development of tea procedure, we can make a cup of tea with a single porcelain cup. in the following passage, we will focus on the most essential tea ware-tea cups and teapots.

the custom of drinking tea propelled the development of the porcelain industry. tang scholars preferred green porcelain from shaoxing , Zhejiang province. this kind of green porcelain was like crystal or jade with elegant design and exquisite decoration. since the true color of tea was set off beautifully in this dainty cup (ou in chinese), it was number one in lu yu's tea classics. as to function, the size and design of the cup best suited to the tea drinking habit of that time allowed for cooking tea powder with green onion, ginger, dates, tangerine peels and peppermint, then drinking the whole liquor-like soup.

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the preference for green porcelain or white porcelain was suddenly changed to black glazed teacups in the song dynasty. scholars emphasized the white foam that formed when boiled water was added to the teacup. the most desirable foam was white, best presented in black tea ware. furthermore, it was easy to observe the foam in the upturned dipper-like teacups. black glazed tea ware from Fujian was dominant, while purple clay tea wares emerged in yixing, Jiangsu .

in the beginning of the ming dynasty, tea was made by pouring boiled water onto loose tea leaves. the tea liquor turned yellowish white, so snow-white teacups replaced the black-glazed tea ware of the song dynasty. in the middle of the ming, with the advent of purple clay tea ware, focus was not limited to the color contrast of tea liquor and tea ware, but switched to the fragrance and taste of tea. the production of various teapots came to its pinnacle.

tea wares made for the royal family in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi , shone brilliantly among numerous tea wares. new designs of teapots and cups increased with the development of tea types.

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