Good evening IPT
Thank you very much for your valuable information. I was aware of the
legend of the young lady Cui Ning with the sensitive fingertips, I recall
she used a wood platter covered withbwax to fix the cup.
Saucers have been known in Europe from a very early date in Teacups,
typical examples may be found at the Meissen Museum (early 17th century). Early ones are usually rather deep bowls without shaping to hold
or guard a teacup (usually handled, no lid).
These Saucers were mainly used as a drinking device, the tea or coffee would be poured from cup to saucer, indicating that loose tea could have been in the cup (apart from the cooling effect). The custom still exsts in
Russia, Iran and parts of Turkey.
Lidded cups were produced at the same time, including a saucer with an
inside high rim (comparable to the song dynasty cup holders). They are
called "trembleuses" - tremblers, shakers - and were often used to serve
cocoa or coffee, more rarely tea, to nobility in bed (by illness, sleep or
). Lying in bed is a notoriously unstable position to imbibe hot beverages, therefore the trembling.
The observation of the high foot in older gaiwans is most interesting and
very plausible. It would also explain the comparatively low and uncomfortable low rims/handles on their lids - ideal for pushing the lid but
awful for taking it off ...
I hope the thread will be continued, maybe we will find interesting insights
to chinese tea culture. I will post pictures of typical old teacups and a
trembleuse as soon as I have figured out how to post pictures. Until then I
Patrick B. Ludwig