Siamese Elegance Etched in Horse Saddle Style Tea Set: A Symbol of Timeless Sophistication

Within the realm of “Tee Cha” or Thai Tea Set Arrangements, lies the graceful orchestration of Thai tea customs marrying the finesse of Chinese tea vessels.

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siamese-elegance-etched

It’s an exquisite portrayal of the distinctly Thai approach to the tea ceremony, akin to the delicate artistry of crafting tea sets and altar decoration – and was considered the antique predecessor to today’s trays or stands. These ornate tea trays, intricately etched with floral motifs, were crafted from silver in the style of a horse saddle. Primarily employed to set the tea ensemble in the ‘Pan Nuai Thuai Diao’ or the ‘Pan Nuai Thuai Bai’ (a set of a single teapot and a cup), it’s a tradition steeped in Siamese culture. Originating from the early days of Rattanakosin, it transcends into the golden era during the reign of the 5th monarch.

In the book “History Regarding Altar Decorations and Crockery” by Prince Tisavarakumarn, the Prince Damrong Rajanubhab, authored in 1917, speaks of the Siamese tradition of arranging tea sets in the Chinese manner, yet not purely following the Chinese customs. Instead, it reflects a diverse array of styles, such as the Chud Pan Nuai Thuai Bai (a set of single teapot and cup), Chud Arnma (the horse saddle set), Chud Jeen (the Chinese set), Chud Thai Thuai Si (the Thai four-cup set), Chud Dao Lom Duen (the constellation set), and more. The hallmark of Siamese tea sets lies in the artful arrangement of teapot and teacup on a singular tray, a distinctive signature of Siam’s tea culture.

The simplicity in arranging the Pan Nuai Thuai Diao involves a few components: one lidded teacup and a teapot placed upon a teapot saucer, all gathered onto a tray, without stringent rules dictating their placement. However, what sets apart this Thai tea set from its Chinese counterpart is its unique characteristics. For instance, the saucer underneath the teapot is a specially commissioned piece from China, as it was not traditionally part of the antique Chinese tea sets. Moreover, in pre-modern Siamese culture, the preference for certain designs necessitated the creation of distinct saucers to complement each tea set type, adding to the exquisite beauty and suitability for each specific tea arrangement.

The intricately horse saddle tea tray of Lot 48 stands as a coveted treasure among collectors, especially cherished by tea aficionados. Beyond its utilitarian purposes, this tea tray serves as a canvas, presenting a breathtaking array of intricate details, encapsulating the essence of tea ceremonies dating back to antiquity. It’s a stunning testament to the artistry interwoven with the simple joy of daily tea rituals.

siamese-elegance-etched

Lot 48
A carved and repousse’ silver teapot tray decorated with floral vine scrolls (1 pc.)
Style: Chinese
Dimensions: W 18 cm L 28 cm H 5 cm
Circa: 20th Century
Estimated Price: 30,000 – 40,000 THB
Starting Price: 4,000 THB