Tea sets vary greatly in quality and price, from inexpensive mass-produced items to high-end, limited edition items. The finest tea sets are made by well-known manufacturers of porcelain or bone china. Another opulent tea set is the silver tea service, a formal tea set with serving pieces made of sterling silver. Mass-produced sets in silverplate are found in more quantity. Because of costs, most holloware (serving pieces) are silverplate rather than sterling.
in addition, a formal tea service would include:
Historians believe the teapot was developed during the Song Dynasty (960-1279 A.D.) An archaeological dig turned up an ancient kiln that contained the remnants of a Yixing teapot. Yixing teapots, called Zi Sha Hu in China and Purple Sand teapots in the U.S., are perhaps the most famous teapots. They are named for a tiny city located in Jiangsu Province, where a specific compound of iron ore results in the unique coloration of these teapots. They were fired without a glaze and were used to steep specific types of oolong teas. Because of the porous nature of the clay, the teapot would gradually be tempered by using it for brewing one kind of tea. This seasoning was part of the reason to use Yixing teapots. In addition, artisans created fanciful pots incorporating animal shapes.
The Song Dynasty also produced exquisite ceramic teapots and tea bowls in glowing glazes of brown, black, and blue. A bamboo whisk was employed to beat the tea into a frothy confection highly prized by the Chinese.
This is a Chinese YiXing tea set used to serve guest which contains the following items: