Author Topic: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer  (Read 265 times)

Offline Markus

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The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« on: August 15, 2019, 01:18:28 AM »
The Divorce of Cup and Saucer by Mark J. Williams

https://traditioninaction.org/Cultural/C060_Saucer_1.htm

Offline red solo cup

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2019, 06:45:30 AM »
As I understand it saucers were used when the tea was too hot to drink from the cup. A small amount was tipped into the saucer where it quickly cooled. This gave rise to the "cup plate" where the cup was rested so as not to stain the table. I only know this because I have a friend who collects them.
https://www.cmog.org/glass-dictionary/cup-plate
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Offline Maximilian

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2019, 08:47:03 AM »
Even in China they have always used saucers.
Here is a photo of a typical gaiwan tea set.

 
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Offline Bernadette

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2019, 09:16:57 AM »
We don't have any saucers.  :shrug:

Quote
As I understand it saucers were used when the tea was too hot to drink from the cup. A small amount was tipped into the saucer where it quickly cooled.

I know this from reading Farmer Boy:pigeons:
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2019, 09:41:56 AM »
Even in China they have always used saucers.

What about in Japan?  I have a generic Japanese pot-&-cups set, and it did not come with saucers.  It isn't a traditional set with the whisk and other accoutrements, as I don't make my tea from matcha.  All it has is a raised bamboo board on which to place the cups—a "coaster" more than a saucer.

I think Markus' essay makes good points, but aesthetically, those ornate floral European teacup patterns are not to my liking, even though they have a sentimental value to me, as my Irish grandmother always served tea in patterned china (with saucers).  But there is a comparative austerity and minimalism to Japanese tea sets that I prefer over the European, especially the ones with script on them.  I also like the absence of a handle: you know when your tea is at drinking temperature when it doesn't burn your finger.

I do agree with the OP's sentiment that our modern beverage consumption is barbaric.  The plastic-lidded cardboard cup is ruinous.  There is no longer anything ceremonial or ordered about it.  Anyway, it looks as if the tea customs of the Orient will be discussed in a part two.
 

Offline Bernadette

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2019, 10:06:04 AM »
We have about 6 tea sets from my Japanese grandma, and none of them have saucers.
 
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Offline mikemac

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2019, 10:37:45 AM »
The Cup and Saucer got Divorced?

I hope it wasn't ... um ... a bad break up.

Like John Vennari (RIP) said "Why not just do it?  What would it hurt?"
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Offline Josephine87

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2019, 05:20:39 PM »
This seems so bourgeois. We don't even have matching plates/cups.  :cheeseheadbeer:
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2019, 06:33:52 PM »
This seems so bourgeois. We don't even have matching plates/cups.

No, it's something decidedly other than bourgeois.  It has more to do with the paradox of how to be a conservative in a world where the traditions have been destroyed and there's little left worth conserving in the first place.  Even a dirt-poor Irish peasant, one hundred years ago, knew that not having matching china was nothing to raise a pint to.

When everything has degraded into chaos, it becomes a reactionary position to aspire to re-establish discipline, neatness, and order.  Hip-hop music, the ubiquity of short pants and t-shirts, living in disarray, &c., are all quite common and accepted now—even among the bourgeoisie.
 
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Offline Maximilian

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2019, 10:52:50 PM »
Even in China they have always used saucers.

What about in Japan?  I have a generic Japanese pot-&-cups set, and it did not come with saucers.  It isn't a traditional set with the whisk and other accoutrements, as I don't make my tea from matcha.  All it has is a raised bamboo board on which to place the cups—a "coaster" more than a saucer.

 - The gaiwan is Chinese.
 - Japanese matcha tea is served in bowls, not cups.
 - Japanese sencha tea, on the other hand, can be served in cups with saucers.

I have a traditional Japanese sencha set that I bought from Japan on ebay which came with matching cups and bronze saucers. Sencha cups don't always come with saucers, but these did.

Mine are very similar to these:



This is a tea cup saucer of Japanese tin ware. This was made about 120 years ago.
This is old original. It is never imitation.
Such a tea cup saucer is mainly used in green tea of middle grade SENCHA.
Social status is high and a SENCHA tool is very popular.
This has an old good tin taste. It is just a Japanese antique tin ware.
And a design is a also very tasteful. Of course, this is handmade by a craftsman.
There is a maker's sign.
This is the very good old SENCHA-tools seriously made by the specialist.
Please purchase at this opportunity, and add to your tea utensils collection.



I think Markus' essay makes good points, but aesthetically, those ornate floral European teacup patterns are not to my liking, even though they have a sentimental value to me, as my Irish grandmother always served tea in patterned china (with saucers). 

I inherited a number of beautiful European tea items from my deceased aunt, and over time I have come to appreciate more and more the aesthetic they represent.


But there is a comparative austerity and minimalism to Japanese tea sets that I prefer over the European, especially the ones with script on them.  I also like the absence of a handle: you know when your tea is at drinking temperature when it doesn't burn your finger.

I have always been a nipponphile, and I bought a large number of Oriental tea items from Japan and China through ebay and other sources. Tea, after all, comes from China. But the more you study it, the more you realize that a lot of the aesthetic was borrowed from Westerners by Japan.

Also, the Japanese aesthetic is not really Zen minimalism. It's something else called wabisabi. Wabisabi is something that is very difficult for Westerners to appreciate, and maybe for good reasons.



Here is the ultimate manga of all time that studies the Japanese tea aesthetic within the context of the sengoku (warring states) period. It is both hilarious and very informative.
[Warning 1: Some adult material in the manga.]
[Warning 2: I use ublockOrigin. I don't know what kind of ads you might see if they are not blocked.)

https://mangarock.com/manga/mrs-serie-111668


It was the Sengoku-era, when the warlords usurped each other. There was a man whose soul was overtaken by the ways of tea and material greed, as he worked his way up toward greater power and status. His name was Sasuke Furuta, a subordinate warrior of Nobunaga Oda. With his world broadened by Nobunaga the Genius and his spiritual insight learned from Senno Soueki the Master of Tea, Sasuke drove the road to Hyouge Mono. To live or not to live. For the power of the art. That is the question!
 
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Offline Maximilian

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2019, 11:03:10 PM »
This seems so bourgeois.

The word "bourgeois" is a Marxist epithet. Even a Marxist like Luis Buńuel agrees that there can be a discrete charm to the bourgeoisie.

One purpose of Tradition in Action is to help traditional Catholics to break free from the Marxist straight-jacket that so often unwittingly fetters our minds.
 
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Offline queen.saints

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2019, 04:13:11 AM »
This seems so bourgeois. We don't even have matching plates/cups.

No, it's something decidedly other than bourgeois.  It has more to do with the paradox of how to be a conservative in a world where the traditions have been destroyed and there's little left worth conserving in the first place.  Even a dirt-poor Irish peasant, one hundred years ago, knew that not having matching china was nothing to raise a pint to.

When everything has degraded into chaos, it becomes a reactionary position to aspire to re-establish discipline, neatness, and order.  Hip-hop music, the ubiquity of short pants and t-shirts, living in disarray, &c., are all quite common and accepted now—even among the bourgeoisie.

Literally dirt poor in some cases. My relative said she was visiting an old woman with an earth floor cottage and was amazed by her beautiful tea pot. But when she complimented the teapot, the lady began to insist that she take it and she had to keep refusing. As it turned out, Grace Kelly had also visited that lady. She had a dirt floor, but she was well equipped to have royalty over for tea.
 
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Offline red solo cup

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2019, 06:28:03 AM »
This seems so bourgeois. We don't even have matching plates/cups.

No, it's something decidedly other than bourgeois.  It has more to do with the paradox of how to be a conservative in a world where the traditions have been destroyed and there's little left worth conserving in the first place.  Even a dirt-poor Irish peasant, one hundred years ago, knew that not having matching china was nothing to raise a pint to.

When everything has degraded into chaos, it becomes a reactionary position to aspire to re-establish discipline, neatness, and order.  Hip-hop music, the ubiquity of short pants and t-shirts, living in disarray, &c., are all quite common and accepted now—even among the bourgeoisie.

Literally dirt poor in some cases. My relative said she was visiting an old woman with an earth floor cottage and was amazed by her beautiful tea pot. But when she complimented the teapot, the lady began to insist that she take it and she had to keep refusing. As it turned out, Grace Kelly had also visited that lady. She had a dirt floor, but she was well equipped to have royalty over for tea.
In many cultures, admiring an object obliges the owner to present it to you.
"It's so lonely 'round the fields of Athenry"
 
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2019, 06:50:39 AM »
- The gaiwan is Chinese.
 - Japanese matcha tea is served in bowls, not cups.
 - Japanese sencha tea, on the other hand, can be served in cups with saucers.

I have a traditional Japanese sencha set that I bought from Japan on ebay which came with matching cups and bronze saucers. Sencha cups don't always come with saucers, but these did.

Thank you.  My set would be for sencha tea, then.  It does have a slatted bamboo board on which the pot and cups are (presumably) placed, so the functional quality of a saucer at least is retained, even though there are no saucers.  Whether this is common or traditional to sencha tea sets, I do not know.

I should say that not all European tea sets are ugly.  My mother once received a Hungarian tea set as a gift, and it has very nice and intricate geometric patterns: crimson & gold on white.  My own cups and saucers are monochromatic, plain white.  Outside of a lobotomy, I don't think I could ever come to truly appreciate the floral designs on European sets.  I drink green tea throughout the day, but in the evening after dinner I like to drink Earl Grey or chai tea.  Chai is probably my favorite tea.  I make it with a 1:1 ratio of chai tea to vanilla soy milk.  The Indian subcontinent is the source of most of my gustatory pleasures.
 

Offline Davis Blank - EG

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Re: The Divorce of Cup and Saucer
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2019, 09:40:54 AM »
I'm going to invite PdR and Markus to my home where I will serve them the finest Big Mac with Coke.  For dessert there shall be bubble tea, imbibed through a straw as it should be, and Chips Ahoy eaten out of the bag.  After dinner entertainment will consist of a discussion on the finer parts of 70s gangster rap.
 
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