What is a tea pet used for?

Tea pets, also known as "tea toys" or "tea companions," are small sculptures typically made of clay or porcelain that are kept on tea trays during the tea ceremony. These whimsical figurines serve both a practical and a symbolic purpose in the tea-drinking tradition.

Practically speaking, tea pets are used to hold the residual tea water and wash it over the surface of the tea pet. This repeated process over time causes the tea pet to change color and develop a patina, much like the aging process of fine tea. The patina is prized for its unique beauty, much like the color of aged tea leaves, and is seen as a record of the many enjoyable tea sessions it has witnessed.

Symbolically, tea pets are considered good luck charms that bring positive energy and a sense of companionship to the tea ceremony. They are often given as gifts to valued friends or business associates, symbolizing respect and appreciation. Some tea pets are even designed to resemble animals or mythical creatures, which are believed to possess special powers that can be transferred to the owner through the tea-drinking ritual.

In short, tea pets are more than just decorative accessories; they are an integral part of the tea-drinking experience, adding a touch of whimsy and warmth to the ceremony while also serving as a visual reminder of the beauty and value of aging gracefully over time.

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