The versatile tea stand
According to legend, tea drinking began some 5000 years ago in China when some leaves fell into a pot of boiling water being prepared for the emperor Shennong. Whatever its origins, tea quickly became an integral part of Chinese culture.
Along with the cultivation of different teas, there developed an etiquette of serving and drinking tea and the making of teapots, cups and trays became a recognised art form.
When guests were received and seated comfortably, tea stands were placed beside the chair giving the guest easy access to their tea and refreshments.
Tea stands usually come in pairs, many have a drawer and a shelf. Stands were often lacquered (another Chinese invention) because the lacquer protected the underlying timber from spills.
The practical versatility of this furniture meant that they were also used as decorative pieces placed around the house to hold a beautiful porcelain or bowl of fresh flowers.
In fact it is this very versatility that sees the tea stand as an option for contemporary homes. Their modest dimensions makes them attractive bedside tables as the top can hold a lamp and a book can sit on the shelf underneath.
Tea stands also make wonderful entry tables. A length of glass custom made for the space and placed on the stands creates a delightful visual effect combining an authentic antique with a contemporary finish.