Tea and Imperialism
Russian tea set
This Russian tea set exemplifies the summation of the processes that brought tea, sugar, and drinking etiquette to parts of Europe. Tea was introduced to Russians through Mongolian and Chinese camel trade. Russians typically sweeten their tea with sugar and add fruits to make the black tea sweeter and more interesting. The sugar would either come from India or China, unlike popular Caribbean sugar cane that was used by western Europeans. Another more popular sugar option in the 20th century would have been beet sugar. This sugar was easier for lower class people to access tea sweeteners. The tea drinking popularity most likely came from England, even though the tea came directly from Mongolia or China. These soviet porcelain pieces would often show propaganda of the new soviet state. images of the hammer and sickle would often be the primary feature of the porcelain. this tea set does not feature those images of propaganda, but this set is a good example of how State Manufactured Porcelain would have been used by ordinary people.
English saucer with small blue designs known as the blue willow. This plate was manufactured and stamped with a Charles Allerton & Sons Staffordshire English Willow Ware stamp. This willow design coincides with the following old nursery rhyme:
'Two birds flying high
A Chinese vessel, sailing by.
A bridge with three men,
A willow tree, hanging o'er.
A Chinese temple, there it stands,
Built upon the river sands.
An apple tree, with apples on,
A crooked fence to end my song.'