Sugar Bowl and Cover
On View: American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, Nations Divided, 1860–1910
The motifs on this tea set are representations of race from the nineteenth century, a time when stereotypical racial images circulated heavily in popular culture and were rarely questioned.
The imagery was intended to symbolize the labor required for the contents of each vessel, including an enslaved African sugarcane picker for the sugar bowl, an Asian man for the teapot, and a goat for the cream pitcher. These objects speak to the exploitative nature of the relationship between white Americans and African descendants and Asian peoples under colonial regimes.
Height: 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm)
Diameter of base: 2 3/4 in. (7 cm) (show scale)
Painted in red on bottom over glaze: "U.P.W." with "S" below.
Gift of Franklin Chace
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Union Porcelain Works (1863-ca. 1922). Sugar Bowl and Cover, ca. 1876. Porcelain, Height: 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Franklin Chace, 68.87.30a-b. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 68.87.29a-b_68.87.30a-b_68.87.31_68.87.32a-b_SL1.jpg)
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Sugar bowl and cover, part of tête-à-tête tea set (68.87.28-.32), hard paste porcelain. Henna ground with floral design, two white panels with flowers and butterflies, supported by four white rabbit feet, two handles composed of white doves resting on a pitcher plant. The top knob is in the shape of an African-American boy's head.
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