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Chinese Glasses & Cups

Used for tea, religious ceremonies, and even for massage therapy, cups are a very important innovation in Chinese art history. Cups are traditionally made of glass, porcelain, silver, bronze, and bone. The earliest forms of cups were made out of bronze and were solely for ritual purposes.

Early bronze ritual cups were called "jue" or "gu." Both were used for drinking and pouring wine. Gu vessels are tall slender vessels, whereas jue are tripod vessels with a lip for pouring wine or spirits. Since the emergence of these bronze vessels, Chinese cups have been created for mass use due to the widespread consumption of tea.

Chinese teacups are usually very small and made out of porcelain. They are often painted with scenes of everyday life, or calming landscapes and flowering motifs. Because tea became such a staple, either for medicinal purposes or in reverence toward ancestors, the decorations on teacups were originally made to depict these experiences. Therefore, teacups were often decorated with poetry referencing family or nature.


Quick Facts

  • Chinese cups were not only used for the consumption of beverages. Cupping therapy is an ancient form of massage that dates from as early as 3000 B.C. This form of massage involves creating a vacuum within the cup and applying it to the skin. The practice is believed to relieve muscle pain and stress
  • Bronze ritual cups have been excavated from royal tombs dating back to as early as 1650 B.C.
  • Chinese teacups hold no more than 30 mL of liquid, unlike the average Western mug that holds between 200-250 mL of liquid

Recommended Items at Auction

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A blue and white porcelain covered teacup and saucer painted with landscape on a background
Oct 01, 6:00 PM ICT
A blue and white porcelain covered teacup and saucer painted with landscape on a background
by RCB Auctions
Est: ฿7,000- ฿9,000
฿4,0002 Bids
A blue and white medicine cup painted with a continuous landscape
Oct 01, 6:00 PM ICT
A blue and white medicine cup painted with a continuous landscape
by RCB Auctions
Est: ฿2,000- ฿3,000
฿2,0002 Bids
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SILVER. Chinese Silver Carved Stone and Enamel Cup
Oct 02, 10:00 AM EDT
SILVER. Chinese Silver Carved Stone and Enamel Cup
by Clarke Auction Gallery
Est: $300- $500
$1502 Bids
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A FINE CRYSTAL MADE CUP
Oct 01, 11:00 AM EDT
A FINE CRYSTAL MADE CUP
by William's Auctions, LLC
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid
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POTTERY CUP WITH FINE CRACKLED MUSTARD GLAZE.
Sep 29, 2:00 PM EDT
POTTERY CUP WITH FINE CRACKLED MUSTARD GLAZE.
by Amelia Jeffers
Est: $100- $200
$501 Bid
A Chinese yellow ground blue and white stem cup, 3 1/4 x 3 in. (8.26 x 7.62 cm.)
Sep 28, 9:00 AM PDT
A Chinese yellow ground blue and white stem cup, 3 1/4 x 3 in. (8.26 x 7.62 cm.)
by Maynards Fine Art & Antiques
Est: $200- $300
$1401 Bid
A Chinese blue and white cup, finely decorated with birds in a bamboo garden, Chongzhen period, H 20,5 cm
Oct 06, 9:00 AM CEST
A Chinese blue and white cup, finely decorated with birds in a bamboo garden, Chongzhen period, H 20,5 cm
by Carlo Bonte Auctions
Est: €1,500- €2,000
€2,2001 Bid
A blue and white porcelain teacup painted with episode from the "Romance of the Three Kingdoms"
Oct 01, 6:00 PM ICT
A blue and white porcelain teacup painted with episode from the "Romance of the Three Kingdoms"
by RCB Auctions
Est: ฿6,000- ฿8,000
฿4,0001 Bid
Three blue and white porcelain covered teacups painted with scrolling peonies
Oct 01, 6:00 PM ICT
Three blue and white porcelain covered teacups painted with scrolling peonies
by RCB Auctions
Est: ฿5,000- ฿6,000
฿2,0001 Bid
PORCELAIN CUP
Sep 29, 7:00 PM CEST
PORCELAIN CUP
by Derksen Veilingbedrijf
Est: €80- €120
€801 Bid
Two antique Chinese cups Ø 6.3 cm.
Oct 08, 10:00 AM CEST
Two antique Chinese cups Ø 6.3 cm.
by Twents Veilinghuis
Est: €0- €0
€1501 Bid
LOT PORCELAIN
Sep 29, 7:00 PM CEST
LOT PORCELAIN
by Derksen Veilingbedrijf
Est: €100- €150
€1001 Bid
CHINESE RELIEF CARVED HORN LIBATION CUP
Oct 15, 10:00 AM CDT
CHINESE RELIEF CARVED HORN LIBATION CUP
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $200
$801 Bid
Set of Ten Chinese Export Style Porcelain Coffee Cups and Saucers
Oct 07, 11:00 AM EDT
Set of Ten Chinese Export Style Porcelain Coffee Cups and Saucers
by Stair
Est: $300- $500
$1501 Bid
A blue and white porcelain teacup with tray painted with landscape on a background
Oct 01, 6:00 PM ICT
A blue and white porcelain teacup with tray painted with landscape on a background
by RCB Auctions
Est: ฿8,000- ฿10,000
฿4,0001 Bid
A blue and white porcelain teacup painted with phoenixes among cloud on a background
Oct 01, 6:00 PM ICT
A blue and white porcelain teacup painted with phoenixes among cloud on a background
by RCB Auctions
Est: ฿2,000- ฿3,000
฿2,0001 Bid
A blue and white porcelain covered teacup with two saucer painted with dragon among foaming waves
Oct 01, 6:00 PM ICT
A blue and white porcelain covered teacup with two saucer painted with dragon among foaming waves
by RCB Auctions
Est: ฿15,000- ฿20,000
฿8,0001 Bid
A blue and white porcelain covered teacup painted with mandarin ducks among lotus flower
Oct 01, 6:00 PM ICT
A blue and white porcelain covered teacup painted with mandarin ducks among lotus flower
by RCB Auctions
Est: ฿10,000- ฿15,000
฿6,0001 Bid
Three blue and white porcelain teacups painted with eight horses pattern
Oct 01, 6:00 PM ICT
Three blue and white porcelain teacups painted with eight horses pattern
by RCB Auctions
Est: ฿15,000- ฿20,000
฿4,0001 Bid
A blue and white porcelain teacup painted with floral vine scrolls
Oct 01, 6:00 PM ICT
A blue and white porcelain teacup painted with floral vine scrolls
by RCB Auctions
Est: ฿2,000- ฿3,000
฿1,0001 Bid
Six blue and white porcelain teacups with flaring-mouth, each painted with dragons writhing amid cloud
Oct 01, 6:00 PM ICT
Six blue and white porcelain teacups with flaring-mouth, each painted with dragons writhing amid cloud
by RCB Auctions
Est: ฿30,000- ฿40,000
฿18,0001 Bid

Sellers Who Sell Chinese Glasses & Cups


Merces Gallery LLC

Merces Gallery LLC

Twents Veilinghuis

Twents Veilinghuis

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

RCB Auctions

RCB Auctions