Tuesday, December 07, 2010


By Jess Hodges

For a while now I've been fighting a losing battle to try not to start collecting teapots. I don't have enough space and I really am enough of a tea geek as it is. Unfortunately my brother has effectively foiled this plan by buying me a teapot shaped like an elephant. It takes my collection up to four, which even I can't pretend I need, and in addition is far too cute to be resisted.

When tea was first beginning to be drunk in China and Japan it was brewed in bowls or pans and it was centuries before any kind of teapot came in to use. The earliest creations resembling teapots come from China and were made from the clay of the YiXing region and dating back to the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). These were originally used for brewing but not pouring, they were individually sized and the tea was drunk directly from the spout, true teapots probably evolved from kettles at a later date.

Teapots were brought to Europe towards the end of the 17th century in the same ships that were carrying the tea along with other luxuries. These early imports acted as inspiration for European craftsmen and teapots became something of a British speciality. With the works of wedgewood and the invention of bone china teapots became items of as much artistic value as practical use.

Teapots today come in an amazing variety of different shapes and sizes including a 35 foot high pink one erected by a Malaysian cult called the Sky Kingdom. There is also the Chester teapot which is a 14 foot hight model found in Ohio and the Utah teapot a virtual 3D model which is used as a standard reference object used in developing computer graphics.

I guess my collection doesn't look too extreme after all!


Teapster said...

I think collecting teapots is absolutely great! I have over 25 in my private collection. I know it's not a lot, but it's only the beginning...