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Teapot with two spouts
Place of Origin: China, Yixing, Jiangsu province
Date: approx. 1750
Historical Period: Qing dynasty (1644-1911)
Materials: High fired ceramic and silver-plated metal
Style or Ware: Yixing ware
Dimensions: H. 7 1/2 in x W. 7 1/4 in x D. 4 1/2 in, H. 19.0 cm x W. 18.4 cm x D. 11.4 cm
Credit Line: Bequest of Marjorie Walter Bissinger
Department: Chinese Art
Collection: Ceramics
Object Number: 2003.56.a-.b
On Display: No

Description

Label:

This teapot's reddish clay color—typical of Yixing ware made for export—as well as its European metal mounts indicate that it was once exported to Europe. This unusual example has two compartments and two spouts for the purpose of serving two types of tea from the same vessel. When tea was introduced to Europe in the mid-1600s, teapots from Yixing (considered the best for brewing) were included with the first shipment of tea leaves. The inclusion of pots with two compartments was a ploy to encourage the tasting of different varieties of tea. Europeans treasured these teapots and gave them silver or gold mounts to protect the spouts from chipping. Engraved on the silver bands around this teapot's spouts are the names of varieties of tea once served in it.

The pot has an overhead handle, and its square lid is surmounted by a small figure of a lion. The Chinese character cheng (meaning "correct") was inscribed on both the lid and shoulder to facilitate proper alignment. The front and back of the square body are decorated with swastikas (an auspicious Chinese motif) in an openwork design.

This teapot was once in the Mottahedeh Collection, a famous East Coast collection of export ware. It was donated to the Asian Art Museum by trustee Marjorie Bissinger, who had played a pivotal role in bringing the Avery Brundage Collection to San Francisco. A collector of Asian art, she had a deep interest in Yixing ware.


More Information

Exhibition History: "Sights Unseen: Recent Acquisitions", Tateuchi Gallery, September 2, 2006 - March 25, 2007
Label:

This teapot's reddish clay color—typical of Yixing ware made for export—as well as its European metal mounts indicate that it was once exported to Europe. This unusual example has two compartments and two spouts for the purpose of serving two types of tea from the same vessel. When tea was introduced to Europe in the mid-1600s, teapots from Yixing (considered the best for brewing) were included with the first shipment of tea leaves. The inclusion of pots with two compartments was a ploy to encourage the tasting of different varieties of tea. Europeans treasured these teapots and gave them silver or gold mounts to protect the spouts from chipping. Engraved on the silver bands around this teapot's spouts are the names of varieties of tea once served in it.

The pot has an overhead handle, and its square lid is surmounted by a small figure of a lion. The Chinese character cheng (meaning "correct") was inscribed on both the lid and shoulder to facilitate proper alignment. The front and back of the square body are decorated with swastikas (an auspicious Chinese motif) in an openwork design.

This teapot was once in the Mottahedeh Collection, a famous East Coast collection of export ware. It was donated to the Asian Art Museum by trustee Marjorie Bissinger, who had played a pivotal role in bringing the Avery Brundage Collection to San Francisco. A collector of Asian art, she had a deep interest in Yixing ware.


Exhibition History: "Sights Unseen: Recent Acquisitions", Tateuchi Gallery, September 2, 2006 - March 25, 2007