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Teacup

Teacup

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A teacup is a small cup, with or without a handle, generally a small one that may be grasped with the thumb
Thumb
The thumb is the first digit of the hand. When a person is standing in the medical anatomical position , the thumb is the lateral-most digit...

 and one or two finger
Finger
A finger is a limb of the human body and a type of digit, an organ of manipulation and sensation found in the hands of humans and other primates....

s. It is typically made of a ceramic
Ceramic
A ceramic is an inorganic, nonmetallic solid prepared by the action of heat and subsequent cooling. Ceramic materials may have a crystalline or partly crystalline structure, or may be amorphous...

 material. It is usually part of a set, composed of a cup and a matching saucer
Saucer
A saucer is a small type of dishware, a plate that is specifically used with and for supporting a cup – a cylindrical cup intended for coffee or a half-sphere teacup for tea. Additionally, the saucer is a distant cousin to the plate. The saucer has a raised centre with a depression sized to fit a...

. These in turn may be part of a tea set
Tea set
A tea set, in the Western tradition, is a set of dishes sold in a group for use at afternoon tea or a formal tea party.Tea sets vary greatly in quality and price, from inexpensive to high-end.-Items in a tea set:...

 in combination with a teapot
Teapot
A teapot is a vessel used for steeping tea leaves or a herbal mix in near-boiling water. Tea may be either in a tea bag or loose, in which case a tea strainer will be needed, either to hold the leaves as they steep or to catch the leaves inside the teapot when the tea is poured...

, cream
Cream
Cream is a dairy product that is composed of the higher-butterfat layer skimmed from the top of milk before homogenization. In un-homogenized milk, over time, the lighter fat rises to the top. In the industrial production of cream this process is accelerated by using centrifuges called "separators"...

 jug
Jug (container)
A jug is a type of container used to hold liquid. It has an opening, often narrow, from which to pour or drink, and nearly always has a handle. One could imagine a jug being made from nearly any watertight material, but most jugs throughout history have been made from clay, glass, or plastic...

, covered sugar
Sugar
Sugar is a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavor.Sucrose in its refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet...

 bowl
Bowl (vessel)
A bowl is a common open-top container used in many cultures to serve food, and is also used for drinking and storing other items. They are typically small and shallow, although some, such as punch bowls and salad bowls, are larger and often intended to serve many people.Bowls have existed for...

 and slop bowl
Slop bowl
A slop bowl is one of the components of the traditional tea set.In modern times, the slop bowl is used to hold the discarded hot water that was used to warm the teapot....

 en suite. Teacups are wider and shorter than coffee cups, but not always.

Some collectors acquire numerous one-of-a-kind cups with matching saucers. Better teacups typically are of fine white translucent porcelain and can be decorated with floral
Flower
A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...

 patterns. They may also memorialize a location, person, or event. Such collectors may also accumulate silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 teaspoon
Teaspoon
A teaspoon, an item of cutlery, is a small spoon, commonly part of a silverware place setting, suitable for stirring and sipping the contents of a cup of tea or coffee...

s. These usually have a decorated enamel
Vitreous enamel
Vitreous enamel, also porcelain enamel in U.S. English, is a material made by fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing, usually between 750 and 850 °C...

 insert in the handle with similar themes.

The first small cups specifically made for drinking the new beverage tea
Tea
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world...

 seen in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 were exported from the Japanese
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 port
Port
A port is a location on a coast or shore containing one or more harbors where ships can dock and transfer people or cargo to or from land....

 of Imari. Tea bowls in the Far East
Far East
The Far East is an English term mostly describing East Asia and Southeast Asia, with South Asia sometimes also included for economic and cultural reasons.The term came into use in European geopolitical discourse in the 19th century,...

 did not have handles, and the first European imitations, made at Meissen
Meissen
Meissen is a town of approximately 30,000 about northwest of Dresden on both banks of the Elbe river in the Free State of Saxony, in eastern Germany. Meissen is the home of Meissen porcelain, the Albrechtsburg castle, the Gothic Meissen Cathedral and the Meissen Frauenkirche...

, were without handles, too. Countries in East Africa like Eritrea
Eritrea
Eritrea , officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea derives it's name from the Greek word Erethria, meaning 'red land'. The capital is Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast...

 also use the handle-less cups to drink boon which is traditional coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

 there.

Chinese
Culture of China
Chinese culture is one of the world's oldest and most complex. The area in which the culture is dominant covers a large geographical region in eastern Asia with customs and traditions varying greatly between towns, cities and provinces...

 teacups are very small, normally can hold no more than 30ml of liquid. They are designed to be used with Yixing
Yixing
Yixing is a county-level city in Jiangsu province, in eastern China with a population of 1.3 million. It is well-known for its Yixing clay and the pottery -- especially the "zisha"-style teapots -- made from the clay...

 teapots or Gaiwan
Gaiwan
A gaiwan is a Chinese lidded bowl used for the infusion and consumption of tea and was invented during the Ming Dynasty. It consists of a bowl, a lid, and a saucer.-History:...

.