Woven Tea Cozy Box

c. 1900
W: 6.0" D: 6.0" H: 6.0"
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Tea drinking has been an integral part of Chinese culture for centuries, resulting in a wide range of social customs and material traditions. In addition to tea leaves, water, and heat, the art of drinking tea (chayi) calls for a variety of teaware and utensils - both practical and decorative. This antique woven tea cozy dates to the late Qing dynasty in the Jiangsu province. The square cozy was crafted entirely of interlaced wooden stripes, and likely originally lined with a cushion, for the purpose of insulating the tea pot and keeping the tea warm.

Made of brass, the lock and strap handles lend beautiful texture and contrast to this coil woven box. The lock was build with a perforation for a tea spout, making it possible to pour without removing the pot from its container. Finished in the shape of an auspicious ruyi, the lock symbolizes longevity and good fortune. The coil weave has worn beautifully with time but remains intact - a true testament to the maker’s skill.

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