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What do you store your tea in?

March 17, 2009

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tea_cabinet_frontA couple of weeks ago I was in a local antique store, probably engaging in the ongoing and fruitless search for an Eastlake or Aesthetic Movement hall tree/coat and hat rack type of thing that suits my needs, when I spotted this beautiful antique Chinese cabinet. I wasn’t sure that I could find a place for it in the house but was determined to try, as it conformed to my vision of an ideal cabinet for my Chinese teas.

Considering the fine workmanship, great condition and its vintage, which I estimate to be ’20s or ’30s, I was quite surprised to find that it was priced under $50.00. It’s fairly small: 14″ wide, 12″ deep and 20″ tall. All of the birds and flowers are hand painted. I don’t know what kind of wood it is, but it weighs very little.

tea_cabinet_leftIt is missing one of the handles and the pin that should go through the rings above the handles, but that’s all fixable. After doing a minimal amount of searching I was able to find a seller on eBay, Classical Country Chinese Life Style Shop, offering a fabulous selection of affordable and classically styled Chinese hardware. The pieces of hardware they sell are not antiques, but they will work just fine. All I need is two of the hanging pulls and the pin. The rest of the hardware I will leave original.

tea_cabinet_hingeI really love antique hinges like this one on the front of the cabinet. It has worn down quite a bit as brass is a very soft metal, but it still looks quite wonderful. The cabinet is really quite striking and I feel very fortunate to have been able to acquire it. The photographs do not do it justice, which is another way of saying that I didn’t photograph it terribly well. My Chinese oolongs, red teas and green teas now have a very attractive place to await their future steepings.

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