Craig Hinshaw, American, born 1950. Untitled (Rat with Cookie), 1977. Stained and lustered stoneware, 83/4 × 53/4 × 33/4 inches. Museum purchase, 1977.9

Steeped in Tradition

October 23, 2021 - March 20, 2022

Harris - Burger Gallery

Hot or iced, bagged or loose, black or green—whatever form or color it takes, over two billion cups of tea are consumed per day worldwide. After water, it is the most consumed beverage and it plays a profound role in many cultures. Because of this, teaware—the equipment used in the brewing or consumption of tea—has been a popular focus for artists throughout history.

The earliest records of teaware date back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD) in China with a simple clay pot. Since then teapots and cups have varied in style based on different social and cultural customs across the globe. Some objects were made to emphasize opulence while others are subdued designs meant for contemplation. Contemporary ceramic artists often consider this history in relation to their own artwork. Some are drawn to a utilitarian style that emphasizes function while others push the boundaries of teaware as a means of self-expression. This exhibition will include contemporary teapots, tea bowls, cups and saucers, and other tea-related objects and will explore how contemporary teaware is thoroughly steeped in tradition.

From the Exhibition

  • Karen Orsillo, American, born 1952. Nerikomi Cup, n.d. Porcelain, 4 x 23/4 x 27/8 inches. Gift of Sidney Swidler, 2017.96