Tuesday, August 12, 2008
On most of the tea blogs I read, I can't help noticing that many of us seem to prefer the English style of teawares, including lots of lovely floral cups and saucers. Pink and pastels are there in abundance, and it's not that often I'll see something of a more Asian design. And that's perfectly fine with me because I think the floral pieces are just plain prettier. That said, I wanted to share an unusual blue and white cup and saucer set a friend gave me a few years ago that I truly treasure, because its design seems just the thing for tea drinking during the opening week of the Beijing Olympics.
When I started exploring the world of teawares, I was surprised to learn that the earliest cups had no handles on them. I found that so odd, but in years since I have seen plenty of photos of early tea sets, and even some modern ones, for that matter, and am now accustomed to seeing the handle-less cups. I learned that some early tea drinkers would also slurp tea out of the saucer itself, which may explain the "handle" type piece on this saucer. Perhaps this represents an early, pre-handle-design effort to keep that hot tea from burning the tea drinker's hand?
I still don't know much about this set, which is unmarked, and I've yet to see another set like it, although I did see a similar single cup for sale on eBay a few years ago. The cup is in mint condition, and except for some crazing (which I'm crazy about), so is the saucer. And the unusual napkins so sweetly embroidered with blue tea bowls? These were a surprise gift from blogger Suzanne at Pink Roses when I won her bird's nest giveaway during the spring. Perfect give for a tea lover, don't you think?