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Teapot with Cover

Decorative Arts and Design

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.
MEDIUM Porcelain
DATES ca. 1876
DIMENSIONS Height: 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm) Diameter of base: 6 x 3 in. (15.2 x 7.6 cm)  (show scale)
MARKINGS Painted in red on bottom over glaze: "U.P.W." with an "S" below.
SIGNATURE no signature
INSCRIPTIONS no inscriptions
CREDIT LINE Gift of Franklin Chace
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Teapot with cover, part of tête-à-tête tea set (68.87.28-.32), hard paste porcelain. Henna ground with floral design, panels with birds and flowers, square handle, spout supported by a bat, finial on cover is a Chinaman's head. Condition: Good, see conservation lab report on file.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Union Porcelain Works (1863–ca. 1922). Teapot with Cover, ca. 1876. Porcelain, Height: 6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Franklin Chace, 68.87.32a-b. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 68.87.32.jpg)
IMAGE group, 68.87.32.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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