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Sugar Bowl and Cover

Decorative Arts

The elegant form of this tea set is derived from eighteenth-century Rococo prototypes, but the amazing variety of flora and fauna that encrust it is typical of the creativity of nineteenth-century eclectic design. The finials on the teapot and sugar bowl, in the form of heads of an Asian male and black sugarcane picker, respectively, will strike many modern viewers as racist imagery, although the nineteenth-century consumer of such porcelain would have considered them benign and, along with the goat's head on the handle of the creamer, clever iconographic shorthand that symbolized the contents of each vessel.

MEDIUM Porcelain
DATES ca. 1876
DIMENSIONS Height: 4 1/2 in. (11.4 cm) Diameter of base: 2 3/4 in. (7 cm)  (show scale)
MARKINGS Painted in red on bottom over glaze: "U.P.W." with "S" below.
SIGNATURE no signature
INSCRIPTIONS no inscriptions
COLLECTIONS Decorative Arts
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
ACCESSION NUMBER 68.87.30a-b
CREDIT LINE Gift of Franklin Chace
RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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CAPTION 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
IMAGE group, 68.87.28a-b-.32a-b_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION 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. Condition: Good
RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (88%)
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