Tea as decoration.
It is well known that tea in the form of bricks was used as currency
in many countries, nurishment in others, and a beverage across the whole
world. However, much less is known about tea as a home decoration.
The further from the region where the tea was harvested, the higher
its value. And in further countries, where it didn’t have a certain
exchange value, such as colonial America, it became decoration and a
symbol of affluence. The colonials hung the tea tablets on their walls and
placed them decoratively on their fireplaces, and should the need arise,
all one had to do was scrape a bit of the brick off, put it into a teapot
and the tea was ready.
The prestige of the tea decorations rose among the colonials after
the famous revolt in Boston (which will covered later on). For now let us
imagine the desperate American colonials tipped tea into the port at
Boston, however, this was not exactly how it happened. "The Sones of
Freedom", dressed as Mohawk Indians, smashed 342 crates of tea bricks
imported from India and threw it into the sea.
To ensure that the destruction was complete, they then proceeded to
smash up the individual tea bricks with oars from their boats. But there
were also others who fished the bricks out of the sea, and shortly they
became displayed on walls and fireplaces in houses as a symbol of
patriotism. Some souvenir companies even sell these bricks today,
supposedly the original Boston tea bricks, suitably preserved.
The brick on the left is modern Chinese production made especially
for display at a fireplace, the one on the right with the Inidan motif is
a replica of the original ‘Boston Tea’