In so many homes the teapot is the first object reached for when either celebration or comfort are needed. At the first signs of heartbreak, illness, or a special occasion, the teapot is set onto the stovetop, and families bond over the rich aroma and taste that's both comforting and familiar.
Though tea has been enjoyed for thousands of years, the first teapots weren't introduced until the 1500s. The earliest incarnations, called Yixing teapots, originated in the Jiangsu province of China. They were made from a purple clay called zisha that is found only in this region. The zisha was unique in that it absorbed the flavor and scent of the tea it was used to brew. During this time, many Chinese citizens owned their own teapots and would drink directly from the spout [source: Everage].
The teapot design quickly spread across Asia to Europe, where afternoon tea has been a tradition for centuries.
Today's teapots come in many different varieties, from traditional porcelain to newer insulated models. They can be admired for their beauty and design, or used as a centerpiece. Many teapots are passed down through generations, bringing a touch of family history to the home's décor.