The importance of a teapet...
When looking into tea practice, or gongfu cha, you will quickly notice the diminutive figurines which grace the tea tray. These are called "chá chǒngwù" 茶宠物 in Chinese, and "teapets" in English. These little pets are so popular that in 2017 a movie was made to honor them. Chá chǒngwù might be serious, such as a composed statuette of Kwan Yin, Bodhisattva of compassion and mercy. Or it might be as humorous as 撒尿男孩茶寵物 Sāniào nánhái. (You'll have to look that one up for yourself!) Of course these are not the only two teapets that are either humorous or serious, but I will leave it to you to discover more.
Not only are teapets fun to look at, and make great conversation starters, but they also may be of significance to the owner of the pet. For instance, my rabbit teapet represents my birth year, cleverness, and sensuality. The carp represents surplus or abundance.
Teapets also serve a functional purpose within the tea practice. Showing your teapet some love, you'll pour the first infusion (rinse of the leaves) over it. Pouring the tea over the pet is supposed to prevent splashing of the tea, but doesn't always work.
May your chá chǒngwù always be fortunate enough to find the tastiest tea being poured over it!
Georgia Rayna, Certified Tea Sommelier