National Museum Cardiff, teacups

I went here in the hope I would find a teacup, similar to mine really. I didn’t find one that had the shape or even the same pattern, but I did find a few that looked beautiful in their own way and could inspire me in the way I want to create a final piece. They were all antiques and incredibly delicate pieces. I was actually quite shocked to find out most of it is welsh pottery? I thought some of it looked Japanese! But no, they just had very oriental designs on them. I also figured out that a lot of the older teacups didn’t have handles on them, they were just cup shape? I found that bizarre since being the tea could become hot.

What I figured out is that most teacups made their way from China to England, which I can kind of understand because most of the designs were very oriental. As I saw in the Museum that a lot of the teacups didn’t have handles and they were called ‘tea bowls’. Saucers then become a part of the teacup fashion in the 1700’s. Later on the 1700’s the handles were made as a part of the tea bowls, as a sudden common sense occurred and realised that they’re could be made without burning. Then the whole part of the set was invented, it then became more common for the English to be associated with the teacups, because they loved it so much and it sort of becoming their ‘thing’. But a lot of people want to stay true to the original teacup and still have them with no handles. I personally think they do look simpler and streamlined, I suppose they do serve the purpose of what you want to do.

I wanted to know more about other countries and their teacup, only a simple history because it could become a little useful further on my project. It was said that tea was made in China, but the Chinese these present days will make and sell ceramic teacups, but they are usually a lot more colourful and they have a lid also with them. But I learnt previously that the Chinese prefer to drink their tea in pottery ware. They are very proud of what is known as their “purple clay”. Most famous purple clay can be found in the regions of Yixing, Jinqdezhen, and Jianqsu. These tea cups are handle-less and require the user to completely wrap hand around tea cup. The pottery-type tea cup is thicker thus, protecting the hand from a burn. They usually have hand painted designs with flowers, poems, or geisha girls for example. This is simaler to the English ones, because they hand paint flowers onto theirs.

Middle-East countries overall use tea bowls. I actually prefer this; I think it just gives it more of an ‘olden’ feel. But, Morocco for example, tea glasses are favoured over any other drinking vessel. (I learnt this from SATC) I think, I remember them drinking from glasses anyway) The glasses are usually very colourful and festive and have lots of artful details. I love this; I thought it was interesting to look at though, because it could develop into some sort of idea, it’s sort of like a stained glass piece really.

I plan to visit there next week and draw a few teacups there. I really loved the designs on some of them and would love to incorporate them into my final piece because they are obviously olden welsh designs and thats what i a trying to link into my project.


About cerysjames

A 19 year old Textile Design student studying in Cardiff! I decided to start up a blog as a diary for all things textile! Mostly inspiration and exhibitions I've been too. My favourite things are printing and having a big imagination!

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