A 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.
It 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.
I 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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As someone that has done a fair amount of content on tea, I have a lot of mixed thoughts on the way information is passed. With tea reviews or discussing a specific tea I have struggled with the question: how to talk about an individual tea or tea in general in an interesting or useful way.. Whether you like or dislike TeaDB episodes largely depends on whether you enjoy watching two particular people drink and binter. This is fine enough and it is certainly fun for Denny & I to create, but I’ll also agree with the sentiment that it’s not necessarily the most substantive way to review a tea in depth. There’s some signal but there’s also a lot of noise. Writing about a specific tea also isn’t easy and I think is actually very difficult to execute in a way that is actually consistently interesting or useful for people. Most people just want to know if you liked or didn’t like a specific tea. Making something that piques interest beyond that is a challenge and even if you don’t like them a place like Mei Leaf has succeeded in creating content that really does engage their viewers. You also have to consider that the majority of people have not had the tea or are even unfamiliar with the basic taste profile (i.e. Denny & I describing a traditionally stored pu’erh, when the audience has never had one).. Here are some phrases I dislike and hear frequently enough that I find them unhelpful and sometimes even counter-productive.
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