Newark Museum Showcases Its Remarkable Collection Of Teapots Dating From The Late 1600s
NEWARK, NJ– The teapot, that simple serving vessel for one of the world’s most popular beverages, has a glorious past that has historically combined functionality and art. Nowhere is that fact made more obvious than in the latest Newark Museum decorative arts exhibition The Teapot which will remain on view through 2013.
Sixty-six teapots in ceramics and silver, dating from the late 1600s to the present day, have been selected from amongst the hundreds of teapots in the Museum’s permanent collection by Ulysses Grant Dietz, Senior Curator and Curator of the Decorative Arts Collection. “These teapots embrace several hundred years of Western cultural history and demonstrate the endless design possibilities that this complex functional form has offered to inspire designers and craftspeople over the centuries,” Dietz said. “The Teapot is a unique exhibition of decorative art that chronicles history and excites the creative interest in all of us,” said Mary Sue Sweeney Price, Museum Director and CEO. “It also provides visitors with a prime example of the scope of the diverse collections cared for by the Newark Museum for future generations.”
According to Dietz, the teapot originated along with tea drinking, which started in China hundreds of years ago. However, the Chinese did not start using teapots until the early part of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The European fashion for drinking tea began in the middle of the 1600s, at the end of China’s Ming Dynasty. The teapot was, until the end of the 1800s, always functional, however ornamental it may have also been. As the idea of“the object as art” emerged with the Arts & Crafts movement in the late 1800s teapots appeared that were as much works of art as they were usable vessels for serving tea. In the second half of the twentieth century, non-functional teapots emerged as sculptural objects, presenting their creators with the potential for design and content that left utility behind.