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The Tea Culture Went Deep Into the Midst of Ordinary People in the Qing Dynasty

Deep penetration into ordinary people's life was the feature of the tea culture of the Qing Dynasty (1644- 1911). The superb skills needed for the tea ceremony and profound spirit expressed in the tea culture were too far away from the life of ordinary people, so in the Qing period they made some adaptations. The most conspicuous one was the popularization of teahouses, where people of different social strata communicated freely with each other. As tea was welcomed by more and more people, tea things naturally became simplified, leaving the teapot and cups to play the leading role. The tea set was often called Set of Mother and Son," because it was like a mother breast-feeding her sons when tea was poured into the cups from the pot. So the affinity that tea had with people's relationships was further strengthened.

Though the number of items needed for a set of tea things was lessened, the workmanship of them grew more excellent, especially that of the teapot More shapes were designed, and more materials, such as purple sand, copper, porcelain, gold, silver, jade and cloisonne enamel, were developed to made the pot. At the time tea export was on a large scale, and tea sets were sold abroad as incidental items. Collectors inside and outside China gradually made it a status symbol to collect Chinese teapots. Moreover, when there were foreign guests visiting China, officials got used to treating them with tea. Drinking tea, as a social custom and part of the etiquette of China, spread to other parts of the world quickly,and tea culture became a treasure of all humanity.