The story of the teapots creation is nothing more than a convoluted mystery. Author Chou Kao-ch’I said that potters from outside of Shanghai became famous for teapots in the early sixteenth century. These were described as boccarro from the small, individual, yet large mouthed Portuguese pots. Other scholars dispute the theory, saying instead that the Chinese never did use actual teapots. Instead they brewed the tea directly in the cup as it is still done in some Chinese restaurants today. Some believe that the design inspiration came from Islamic coffee pots, while others claim it was the imported Chinese wine vessels misinterpreted to be used for the tea it came packed with. Nevertheless, as functional teapots gained popularity in the 18th century throughout Europe, creative minds caught on. Mass-production began with the East India Company, was changed by the breakthrough of porcelain, and altered again with the use of silver. Like other art forms it went through periods of Renaissance, Gothic, Chinese, Moorish, Arts and Crafts, Japanese, and Art Nouveau styles. Today the evolution of teapot design continues to evolve with new artists like Erin Wells (http://www.erinwellsdesign.com/) and Mary Markeenan (http://www.marymarkeenan.com/). No matter what your teapot preference, one can only hope that it’s what’s inside that matters most—good, quality, comforting or invigorating, home-brewed tea.
Pictured teapot from Wanda's Designs (http://wandadesigns.blogspot.com/2007/02/brand-new-teapots.html)