Enamelware Teapot with Mythical Qilin

c. 1920
$880 USD
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W: 7.0" D: 6.75" H: 7.75"
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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 round covered vessel dates to the early 20th century and would have been used as either a teapot for serving brewed tea or a ewer for dispensing boiled water during tea ceremony. The kettle is decorated with overglaze enamels in a bold palette of magenta pink, orange, and emerald green. On either side of the vessel, a cartouche encloses a mythical qilin, a gentle creature of benevolence and longevity. Riding on the qilin's back is the Goddess of Fertility, a Taoist deity who guides mothers through birth and childcare. The scene is enclosed by a pattern of flowers, trailing vines, and double happiness (囍), a symbol of marital bliss.

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