Bamboo is one of the "Three Friends of Winter" in China. These beautiful white cups are rendered in luminous Mutton Fat Jade Porcelain from Dehua, Fujian. They feature an elegant sprig of bamboo in bas-relief, and taper to the foot in organic segments. Understated and subtle, the bamboo is barely discernible when front-lit, emerging as though from a fog when the cup is backlit. The flat leaves and rounded stalk, as well as the ridges, add to the tactile fascination of the soft unglazed porcelain, making these cups a joy for the fingertips as well as the lips.
In China, a slightly larger cup, especially one that matches the rest of the tea service, is used by the host - ie whoever is pouring tea. Called a zhǔ rén bēi主人杯 ("Master's Cup"), I used to think that these were some sort of tea flex, but I've come to understand their origin: Often, someone who is in the habit of serving tea to groups of people will also drink alone. During solo sessions one often drinks out of a large cup out of convenience, and when guests arrive the Master's Cup is already in use. They also serve to distinguish the one persistent cup from the rest - guests come and go, but the host stays, and it feels like an energetic anchor for that cup to be larger.
Whether you choose to have a whole set of these 50 ml cups, or to use one as the Master's Cup among a set of smaller ones, or just to have one as your special cup, these beautiful larger vessels add a dreamlike quality to any tea service of any size.
These 50ml teacups are exquisite. There are small details that make them a pleasure to drink from. One of my favorite parts is the wide, flat bottom on the inside of the cup. It's relaxing to watch the cup fill. The Snow Bamboo gives the gently curved sidewalls a very pleasant texture on the fingers. The 50ml capacity seemed large to me at first (I am used to tasting cups) but I love being able to sip on an infusion longer and escape into the process of tasting and enjoying the tea. Pairs perfectly with my Mutton Fat Jade side handle pot!
The design is pretty and the way it's joined to the rest of the cup feels really good to the touch (super smooth). Nice cup to sip from
These are my favorite cups, the tea's liquor can be seen easily through the porcelain and they have a nice weight to them while keeping your hands cool. The cup is designed so that you don't need to tilt your head back to drink from the cups. You'd be surprised how many vendors who make cups gets this wrong. I'd love to give some input on some other necessary mutton fat jade teaware! Finally after owning at least 20 different types of tea cups I've struck gold!
Very very nice craftsmanship. Very smooth to the touch