The rise of the tea culture in Europe

The first records of tea imported into Europe from the Far East date to the second half of the 16th century.


When the consumption of exotic drinks became widespread, a clear relationship arose with adapted containers, such as porcelain. Due to the heat resistance and the non-porous character of porcelain, it not only fulfilled a role as a decorative object, but also as a suitable container for the new drink. The emergence of hot exotic drinks, in particular coffee, tea and chocolate, can be seen in the late 17th century on the basis of e.g. mentions in Antwerp art inventories.


The decorations were created in an interaction between the demand in the area of consumption and the producers in Asia. In this way, consumers ultimately formed their own ‘fictional’ image of Chinese culture. View our tea sets with decorations that give a hybrid image of such ‘Chinese’ representations.

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