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became such a staple, either for medicinal purposes or in reverence toward ancestors, the decorations on teacups were originally made to depict these experiences.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 George I Irish silver two-handled cup Joseph Walker, Dublin 1714
Oct 19, 9:30 AM BST
A George I Irish silver two-handled cup Joseph Walker, Dublin 1714
by Bonhams
Est: £1,000- £1,500
£1,0002 Bids
A Chinese horn like libation cup
Oct 18, 2:00 PM PDT
A Chinese horn like libation cup
by International Auction Gallery
Est: $80- $150
$252 Bids
SMALL CHINESE PORCELAIN CUP WITH BLOSSOMING TREE
Oct 22, 10:00 AM EDT
SMALL CHINESE PORCELAIN CUP WITH BLOSSOMING TREE
by Ahlers & Ogletree Inc.
Est: $100- $200
$501 Bid
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大明 Certified Chinese Jade Wine Cup: Beast on Bull, Ming dynasty
Oct 24, 10:00 AM EDT
大明 Certified Chinese Jade Wine Cup: Beast on Bull, Ming dynasty
by Eternity Gallery
Est: $25,000- $50,000
$2,0001 Bid
Pair of Chinese Imperial Gilt Copper Liberation Cups
Oct 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Pair of Chinese Imperial Gilt Copper Liberation Cups
by Akiba Antiques
Est: $500- $5,000
$2001 Bid
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Chinese Jade Stone Carving of Cup
Oct 22, 11:00 AM PDT
Chinese Jade Stone Carving of Cup
by Wealthier Art & Auction
Est: $100- $150
$201 Bid
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Large Chinese Horn Carving Cup
Oct 23, 11:00 AM PDT
Large Chinese Horn Carving Cup
by Wealthier Art & Auction
Est: $200- $300
$501 Bid
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Chinese Famille Rose Porcelain Cup
Oct 23, 11:00 AM PDT
Chinese Famille Rose Porcelain Cup
by Wealthier Art & Auction
Est: $50- $60
$101 Bid
JIAN WARE CUP, SONG DYNASTY, CHINA
Oct 18, 6:00 AM PDT
JIAN WARE CUP, SONG DYNASTY, CHINA
by DotDot Art Gallery Inc
Est: $800- $1,000
$3001 Bid
A BLUE AND WHITE STEM CUP, YUAN DYNASTY, 12TH CENTURY
Oct 18, 6:00 AM PDT
A BLUE AND WHITE STEM CUP, YUAN DYNASTY, 12TH CENTURY
by DotDot Art Gallery Inc
Est: $600- $800
$2001 Bid
YUE WARE CUP, IN THE SOUTHERN SONG DYNASTY OF CHINA, 11TH CENTURY
Oct 18, 6:00 AM PDT
YUE WARE CUP, IN THE SOUTHERN SONG DYNASTY OF CHINA, 11TH CENTURY
by DotDot Art Gallery Inc
Est: $1,000- $1,200
$3001 Bid
A QAJAR POLYCHROME-PAINTED ENAMELLED GILT COPPER QALYAN CUP
Oct 29, 11:00 AM BST
A QAJAR POLYCHROME-PAINTED ENAMELLED GILT COPPER QALYAN CUP
by Chiswick Auctions
Est: £200- £300
£2001 Bid
A CHINESE BLUE GLAZED PORCELAIN STEM-CUP
Oct 23, 4:00 PM MST
A CHINESE BLUE GLAZED PORCELAIN STEM-CUP
by AZP Art Gallery Corp.
Est: $300- $500
$1001 Bid
TWO YERBA MATE CUPS WITH STRAWS
Oct 27, 10:00 AM EDT
TWO YERBA MATE CUPS WITH STRAWS
by Everard Auctions and Appraisals
Est: $100- $150
$601 Bid
Shrimp Play Teacup Jingdezhen Porcelain 1960s
Oct 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Shrimp Play Teacup Jingdezhen Porcelain 1960s
by Zikorn Arts
Est: $400- $600
$3900 Bids
Continental Silver Flared Rim Cup
Oct 22, 9:00 AM EDT
Continental Silver Flared Rim Cup
by Brunk Auctions
Est: $200- $300
$1000 Bids
A two handled gilt brass pedestal cup and cover
Oct 27, 10:30 AM BST
A two handled gilt brass pedestal cup and cover
by Dreweatts 1759 Fine Sales
Est: £500- £700
£4000 Bids
A Pair of Chinese Jade Cup
Oct 30, 9:30 AM EDT
A Pair of Chinese Jade Cup
by Luban Antique
Est: $50- $100
$200 Bids
panorama cup, Wallendorf, around 1800, qualityfull
Oct 30, 10:00 AM CEST
panorama cup, Wallendorf, around 1800, qualityfull
by Henry's Auktionshaus AG
Est: €120- €240
€1200 Bids
A Set of 12 Chinese Famille Rose Porcelain Cups
Oct 30, 9:30 AM EDT
A Set of 12 Chinese Famille Rose Porcelain Cups
by Luban Antique
Est: $50- $100
$100 Bids
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Chinese Carved Cream Glazed Porcelain Tall Cup
Oct 22, 11:00 AM PDT
Chinese Carved Cream Glazed Porcelain Tall Cup
by Wealthier Art & Auction
Est: $50- $60
$100 Bids
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Pair Chinese Ge Type Porcelain Tall Cups
Oct 22, 11:00 AM PDT
Pair Chinese Ge Type Porcelain Tall Cups
by Wealthier Art & Auction
Est: $100- $120
$200 Bids
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Chinese Longquan Type Tall Porcelain Cup
Oct 22, 11:00 AM PDT
Chinese Longquan Type Tall Porcelain Cup
by Wealthier Art & Auction
Est: $50- $80
$100 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Chinese Glasses & Cups


Empire Auction House

Empire Auction House

Merces Gallery LLC

Merces Gallery LLC

Ander's Auction

Ander's Auction

DotDot Art Gallery Inc

DotDot Art Gallery Inc