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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)
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ca. 1730-35

Three exotic and costly beverages, coffee, tea and chocolate, were introduced throughout Europe during the early seventeenth century as Europeans pursued their passion for traveling in search of things foreign, curious, and rare. Initially, each was surrounded by an aura of exclusiveness and mystery. All three became beverages to be served on special social occasions; by the eighteenth century, they were consumed daily.

When coffee, tea, and chocolate entered Europe, no serving vessels were specifically associated with their use. The principal beverages in Europe had been ale and wine. Vessels for those beverages -- earthenware and metal jugs, tankards, and mugs -- were not suitable for sipping hot, costly beverages brewed in very small quantities. Chinese export porcelain, and then Europe's own wares, such as this Meissen service, filled this void.
Hard paste porcelain
1 in. (2.54 cm), height
4 7/8 in. (12.4 cm), diameter
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert S. Nichols
Now on view at the Seattle Art Museum


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Porcelain Stories: From China to Europe", February 17, 2000-May 7, 2000 (2/17/2000 - 5/7/2000)
Published ReferencesEmerson, Julie, Jennifer Chen, & Mimi Gardner Gates, "Porcelain Stories, From China to Europe", Seattle Art Museum, 2000, pg. 111

Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are on the traditional homelands of the Duwamish and the customary territories of the Suquamish and Muckleshoot Peoples. As a cultural and educational institution, we honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future. We also acknowledge the urban Native peoples from many Nations who call Seattle their home.

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