Pair of Qing Dynasty tea cups


Discussion on virtually any teaware related item.

Postby wyardley » Mar 8th, '09, 16:46

teaskeptic wrote:Don't you think that your experience would be more enjoyable if you simply believed that you were using antiques, but actually weren't? I'm not saying this is the case here at all.


I don't think porcelain is as hard to authenticate as Yixing, but there is a lot of fake / reproduction stuff out there. I don't care what the source -- I would be hesitant to assume that any "antique" Chinese porcelain is 100% for sure authentic (of course there's also a middle ground - pieces that are old, but not as old as they're claimed to be, or pieces that are genuinely old, but are not actually by the maker or kiln they claim to be made by). Since I'm not an expert in authenticating this stuff myself, I would be hesitant to make any sort of claims about any "antique" teaware I (or anyone else) own one way or another, no matter what claims the seller makes about it.

The glazes and clay type / thickness in antique (or "antique") teaware can certainly make a difference in one's tasting experience, as can the aesthetic differences between older and new teaware. As to whether most people could tell the difference (in the taste of the tea) between a genuine antique and a roughly equivalent (in size / thickness / shape / etc.) well executed reproduction in a blind tasting, I'm a little more skeptical about that.

The difficulty in holding such a tasting, of course, is that you'd have to find a cup that's 100% for sure genuine, and then some similar cups that a seller will admit is a modern reproduction.
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Postby trent » Mar 8th, '09, 17:26

placebo or not, my antique cups seem to change the way tea tastes
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I agree with hop about qing cups making tea taste smoother, the korean cup up top seems to make tea taste creamier, and the cup unearthed in a peasant's farm seems to make tea taste noticeably sweeter.
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Postby ABx » Mar 8th, '09, 17:46

teaskeptic wrote:I am not knocking the placebo effect!

Nor am I, but there are also physical reasons that a cup can change the character of the tea.

I don't know about making a tea 'smoother,' but take bitterness for example; sometimes being especially hot can mask bitterness and astringency. A cup that retains heat better may increase the duration that the bitterness/astringency is masked. Other teas change noticeably as they cool and/or once the bulk is gone and you just have a film left on the bottom; if a cup is better at holding that film on the sides as you drink it...

With the cup I use most, I've noticed that there is a particular range, about half an inch of space, where you can smell the aroma the most. Above or below that spot and the aroma is quite weak. This spot seems to be different in cups with different shapes, but of course once you drink a certain amount you end up with your nose inside the cup when you drink, where the steam and aroma can't easily escape during the sip. I first noticed this in the cup from my competition tasting set; I wasn't getting much aroma from that cup in teas that I knew gave good aroma consistently, and was surprised to find that it returned upon switching cups.

Try differently shaped cups sometime, and experiment with preheating vs using cold, smelling at certain heights, before during and after drinking, and so on. Assuming you have good quality teas, an experienced palate, and are brewing gongfu style, you'll likely notice some differences.
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Postby hpulley » Mar 8th, '09, 17:48

teaskeptic wrote:I am not knocking the placebo effect! I completely agree that older, classical, antique ware will actually make your experience more enjoyable.

Don't you think that your experience would be more enjoyable if you simply believed that you were using antiques, but actually weren't? I'm not saying this is the case here at all.


I bought my stuff on eBay so this could even be true! I believe they're Japanese antiques but for all I know they were actually made last week in a big factory in China...
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Postby cheaton » Mar 9th, '09, 09:46

Don't discount chemical reaction. The old materials may certainly affect the chemical composition of the tea you're drinking differently than the new. This can absolutely have an effect on aroma and taste. Acids, bases, etc. etc. Taste is a chemical process like most things biological.
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Re: Pair of Qing Dynasty tea cups

Postby hop_goblin » Mar 16th, '09, 19:45

hop_goblin wrote:Here are a couple of Qing Dynasty cups, a gift from of Aaron Fisher - Enjoy

I also just purchased a Wen Ge 'cultural revolution' YiXing teapot but you will have to tune in to my blog for those pics.. Will post soon. :D

Size appox 35ml

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I'm starting to wonder if these Qing cups maybe older? Humm? At first I thought that perhaps they were late Qing but from examining this pictures and comparing them to mine, they look awfully similar. :D

http://www.mingwrecks.com/sales/porcelain.html
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Postby hop_goblin » Mar 16th, '09, 21:31

TomVerlain wrote:the bowls on the site are 14 cm in diameter, too big for a tea cup. Also, though the name is "ming" - the shipwreck is desaru is listed by them as 1830. I think qing is accurate.

visit http://gotheborg.com/webshop/index.php - that is their webshop URL, but they have a FAQ and lots of resources for dating chinese porcelain.


Good observation Tom.. However, I was talking more the design. Of course they Ming website are bowls Circa 1830 which would still place them in Qing. Also, I was only suggesting that my first impression is "late Qing" as opposed to "early" Qing. :lol:
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