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Tea Merchants

Artist/maker unknown, Chinese

Made in China, Asia

19th century

Ink, gold, and color on silk; mounted as an album leaf

12 1/16 inches x 12 1/8 inches (30.9 x 30.6 cm)

Curatorial Department:
East Asian Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with Museum funds from the Simkhovitch Collection, 1929

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This scene of tea vendors sampling their wares is based on an earlier scroll painting with an almost identical composition by the artist Qian Xuan (1235-1301). The men are shown pouring tea from large, spouted ewers into small, stacked cups. In the work by Qian Xuan, the men drank from cups mounted on cup stands, which were commonly used during the Song dynasty (960-1279). The nineteenth-century artist who painted this scroll must have had only a muddled understanding of cup stands, as he has rendered them here as stacks of small cups.