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.
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). Cream Pitcher, 1876. Porcelain, 3 7/8 x 3 1/2 in. (9.8 x 8.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Franklin Chace, 68.87.31. 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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Creamer pitcher, part of tête-à-tête tea set (68.87.28-.32), hard-paste porcelain. Body is general cylindrical shape, rises from flat bottom, angled in at sides, flares out around top edge to form spout, undulating rim around top edge. Opposing handle in form of pitcher plant with ram's head. Raised on four rabbit feet. Body decorated with light orange ground covered with flowers and butterflies; white reserves on sides and below spout contain flowers and birds. Gilt band around inside top edge.
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