The history of tea cups spans hundreds of years and several continents as the popularity of tea spread from China and India to England and the West. Over time, tea cup designs changed as different cultures embraced tea.
Chinese Tea Cups
The original vessels used for preparing tea in China were bowls with no handles. Potters made these bowls out of porcelain in two colours: white and light blue. The Chinese used this style during 206 to 220 B.C.
Early European Tea Cups
As the custom of tea spread to Europe, tiny tea cups accompanied the newly popular tea pot as tea was expensive at £65 for 0.454kg. Silver tea cups without handles arrived in Europe during the reign of George II. Later designs of these cups, especially in England, also began to include handles.
Modern Tea Cups
Tea cups used in China and Japan continue to use clay and porcelain for materials as well as maintain the bowl shape. Tea cups in India are tumbler-shaped and made of either glass or stainless steel. Many tea cups in England and Europe are made out of china and some have handles while others do not.
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