The Chitra Collection at LAPADA Art and Antiques Fair
From 13th-18th September 2016, a selection of notable pieces from the Chitra Collection went on display at the LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair in central London. This is the first time that The Chitra Collection had been on public display in the UK.
Four themed collections were curated for the event, each one based around a key period in tea history. Chitra Collection Curator, Olivia Fryman, explains further:
“The pieces we chose for LAPADA reveal both the importance and diversity of tea-drinking customs across the world. Our first theme was Liquid Jade, exploring the origins of tea in early China and Japan.
According to Chinese legend, the mythical Emperor Shen Nung, who is thought to have ruled around 5000 years ago, encouraged the cultivation of tea after discovering its health giving properties. By the time the first book on tea, The Chájīng, was written in 780 AD, the drink had spread to Japan where its preparation was ritualised in tea ceremonies.
Our next theme, Tea Comes to Europe, focussed on the establishment of tea drinking in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries. The craze for tea led to a demand for Chinese and Japanese porcelain teawares that initially could not be replicated by European potters. At the same time, European artists and manufacturers strove to create their own tea accoutrements to suit Western tastes and drinking habits.
Our Tea and Empire selection explored the important role of tea in the history of the British Empire; the cultivation of new tea plantations in India, the Opium Wars and the American Revolution.
And finally, Global Tea Culture showcased a selection of teawares produced in Europe, Russia and America during the 19th century when tea gradually became a feature of everyday social and domestic life, rather than an elite ritual enjoyed by the privileged few”.