Loading Spinner

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became such a staple, either for medicinal purposes or in reverence toward ancestors, the decorations on teacups were originally made to depict these experiences.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

See all items

A RARE ZISHA WARE CUP AND SAUCER WITH MOLDED FLOWER BRANCHES, BUDDHIST EMBLEMS AND TREES
Jun 10, 9:30 AM CEST
A RARE ZISHA WARE CUP AND SAUCER WITH MOLDED FLOWER BRANCHES, BUDDHIST EMBLEMS AND TREES
by Nagel Auction
Est: €600- €900
€3302 Bids
18 Pieces Chinese Porcelain Cups & Saucers
May 29, 11:00 AM EDT
18 Pieces Chinese Porcelain Cups & Saucers
by Willow Auction House
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid
A TIANBAI GLAZE CONICAL TEA CUP
Jun 02, 9:30 AM EDT
A TIANBAI GLAZE CONICAL TEA CUP
by Berkeley Auction Gallery
Est: $600- $800
$1001 Bid
4 Chinese Porcelain Cups & Saucers
May 29, 11:00 AM EDT
4 Chinese Porcelain Cups & Saucers
by Willow Auction House
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid
Chinese and Japanese Porcelain Estate Group
Jun 01, 10:00 AM EDT
Chinese and Japanese Porcelain Estate Group
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$501 Bid
Stemcup with Dragon, Xuande Mark, Late Ming
May 31, 9:00 PM WIB
Stemcup with Dragon, Xuande Mark, Late Ming
by Chinese Imperial Porcelain
Est: $1,500- $2,500
$1501 Bid
bp parity badge
A FINELY CARVEDD CRYSTAL CUP
Jun 01, 10:00 AM EDT
A FINELY CARVEDD CRYSTAL CUP
by William's Auctions, LLC
Est: $120- $180
$601 Bid
14 Pieces Chinese Porcelain Cups & Saucers
May 29, 11:00 AM EDT
14 Pieces Chinese Porcelain Cups & Saucers
by Willow Auction House
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid
8 Longquan Kilns Song Dynasty Celadon Stone Ware
May 30, 12:00 PM EDT
8 Longquan Kilns Song Dynasty Celadon Stone Ware
by Greenwich Auction
Est: $200- $300
$1001 Bid
bp parity badge
A CHINESE BRONZE (?) CUP OR SINGING BOWL
Jun 01, 11:00 AM CEST
A CHINESE BRONZE (?) CUP OR SINGING BOWL
by Galerie Moenius
Est: €150- €300
€1501 Bid
THREE PORCELAIN SAUCERS AND 4X CUPS WITH FIGURE LANDSCAPE DECOR. CHINA, 18TH CENTURY. DIAM. 9 CM.
Jun 04, 6:30 PM CEST
THREE PORCELAIN SAUCERS AND 4X CUPS WITH FIGURE LANDSCAPE DECOR. CHINA, 18TH CENTURY. DIAM. 9 CM.
by Medusa Auctioneers
Est: €50- €100
€501 Bid
Five porcelain cups and saucers, China, 18th century
May 29, 7:00 PM CEST
Five porcelain cups and saucers, China, 18th century
by Vendu Rotterdam
Est: €100- €200
€800 Bids
Nine porcelain cups and eleven saucers, China, 19th century
May 29, 7:00 PM CEST
Nine porcelain cups and eleven saucers, China, 19th century
by Vendu Rotterdam
Est: €200- €400
€1600 Bids
Six porcelain cups and saucers, China, 18th century
May 29, 7:00 PM CEST
Six porcelain cups and saucers, China, 18th century
by Vendu Rotterdam
Est: €200- €400
€1600 Bids
Six porcelain cups, China, 19th century
May 29, 7:00 PM CEST
Six porcelain cups, China, 19th century
by Vendu Rotterdam
Est: €200- €400
€1600 Bids
Five porcelain cups and saucers, China, 18th century
May 29, 7:00 PM CEST
Five porcelain cups and saucers, China, 18th century
by Vendu Rotterdam
Est: €150- €300
€1200 Bids
Six porcelain cups and saucers, China, Yung Cheng period (1723-1735), first half 18th century
May 29, 7:00 PM CEST
Six porcelain cups and saucers, China, Yung Cheng period (1723-1735), first half 18th century
by Vendu Rotterdam
Est: €600- €1,200
€4800 Bids
SONG JUN KILN BLUE GLAZE PURPLE SPOT HEXAGONAL DRAGON HANDLE CUP
Jun 01, 3:00 PM PDT
SONG JUN KILN BLUE GLAZE PURPLE SPOT HEXAGONAL DRAGON HANDLE CUP
by Mega International Auction
Est: $900- $1,500
$5000 Bids
KILN WHITE PORCELAIN HIGH-FOOT CUP
Jun 01, 3:00 PM PDT
KILN WHITE PORCELAIN HIGH-FOOT CUP
by Mega International Auction
Est: $700- $1,000
$4500 Bids
LIAO AND JIN GRASSLAND CULTURE BRONZE SHEEP CUP
Jun 01, 3:00 PM PDT
LIAO AND JIN GRASSLAND CULTURE BRONZE SHEEP CUP
by Mega International Auction
Est: $1,400- $1,900
$8000 Bids
LIAO AND JIN GRASSLAND CULTURE BRONZE BEAST CUP
Jun 01, 3:00 PM PDT
LIAO AND JIN GRASSLAND CULTURE BRONZE BEAST CUP
by Mega International Auction
Est: $1,400- $1,900
$8000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Chinese Glasses & Cups


Chinese Imperial Porcelain

Chinese Imperial Porcelain

Merces Gallery LLC

Merces Gallery LLC

Mega International Auction

Mega International Auction