Russian ambassadors first imported 59kg.of tea from Mongolia in 1638. After the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railroad Chinese tea imports increased making tea drinking popular Russian beverage. The royal families started the trend of owning elaborately decorated samovars used to heat the water for tea and the delicate teapots used to serve it. This combination of samovar and teapot is still a part of Russian society.
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Ivan Kalita's will in 1328 is the first recorded record of a Gzhel teapot. For over 650 years, Gzhel has been famous for its unique clay pottery. Teapots from the city of Gzhel are pieces of art with creative designs and colourful imaging. A signature design of the Gzhel teapot is the combination of a white teapot background accented with blue floral designs.
Older Gzhel teapots from the 1820s have a distinctive blue glaze but by the mid-1900s, Gzhel ceramics became three-dimensional decorations handmade in delicate faience and porcelain. Gzhel teapots prior to the Russian revolution are the most collectable. Government nationalisation of the Gzhel factories during communist rule affected the quality and its artistic reputation. Today, Gzhel is seeing a revival of its handicrafts and porcelain production, which again is attracting the interest of collectors.
The Empress Elizabeth founded Lomonosov Porcelain in 1744 making the factory one of the oldest porcelain manufactures in Europe. Started as an exclusive supplier to the imperial family, today, Lomonosov Porcelain is collected for its continued dedication to quality and design. The factory still produces replicas of original teapot designs as used by Russian royalty. Lomonosov Porcelain is all handcrafted preserving the old manufacturing techniques in the making of quality porcelain. All teapots are hand painted and any decoration using gold is 22 carats.
Kasimir Malevich was an influential Russian designer and painter who developed his own abstract geometric pattern of design in 1913 called suprematism. Building upon his work Malevich began to created three-dimensional models that he termed constructivism. His most famous constructivism pieces were an extremely modern tea sets and cubist teapots. Reproductions of these 1923 designs are famous with collectors and Russian teapot enthusiasts.
The samovar is an essential fixture when brewing Russian teas. The most famous of all samovar manufactures are from the city of Tula. Samovars made in Tula were decorated or plated from a variety of metals such as gold and silver. Their decoration was based upon buyer's wealth but their base metal manufacturing was always brass. Among collectors, the creative folk decoration combined with its domestic use has made Tula samovars very collectable with certain samovars on museum exhibit around the world.
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