Having looked into my metal Moroccan teapot (previous post), I next pulled out some pieces from India, believing that I could discover some interesting info about them. Not so much, or, at least not in the way that I expected.
Teapot (for sure, or pretty for sure)
The bottom of this teapot is stamped “INDIA 917J,” which I thought would bring up something but it got me only to an Etsy shop* selling an extremely similar pot. That listing claims this is a 1940s solid brass teapot with a wicker-wrapped handle and a “floral design”—a “great display of Eastern Indian craftsmanship.” I found no other information about a pot such as this.
Compared to the Moroccan teapot, the tooling of this pot is much more intricate and exact, with a leaf garland trailing around the lid. A row of upright individual leaves wraps around the pot’s body. Underneath, branches of small leaves (somewhat like those of a rose) terminate in large poppy-like flowers (six all together).
With its flat bottom and sturdy construction, this teapot seems meant for stovetop use, perhaps for simmering masala chai. There are five holes that open into the spout, plenty small enough to hold back tea leaves and whole spices.
The wicker-wrapped handle would keep the handle cool enough to hold. I found the handle a bit on the slight side though, making it awkward and somewhat unbalanced.
It seems the upside to this attractive teapot is that you could use it both to simmer the tea and then to serve it to your guests. The downside is the possibility of dangerous metals leaching into your tea from the pot material itself (the interior is tinned or plated) or the soldering of the spout (see previous post).
Teapot (or not)
I must admit that I’m assuming the pot shown above is a teapot because it looks like a teapot and because others label it a teapot. But that doesn’t make it a teapot—as I demonstrated in a previous post (When a Teapot Is Not a Teapot). Further, in addition to teapots, chocolate pots, and wine ewers that look alike, coffeepots also play into this mix.
This tall, elegant pot, with accompanying tray and cups, has motifs nearly identical to those on the teapot, including in intricacy and precision.
This pot is almost completely covered with designs, however. Branches of small leaves and poppy-like flowers are surrounded by flowing lines of individual leaves and graceful branches.
A strand of leaves even reaches up on either side of the graceful spout, and hatch marks run the length of the spout and the top half of the handle.
Although similarly shaped pots are labeled as teapots, as oil pitchers, or occasionally as coffeepots on the internet, this one came with a small tray holding six small cups, precluding oil pitcher.
However, at closer look, the tooling on the cups matches the tray but doesn’t match the teapot, so these seem to have been expediently put together as a set, meaning the pot could actually be for oil.
Since the for-sure teapot and the questionable pot themselves have matching motifs, do they belong together, perhaps as a tea- and coffeepot set?
And the intricately inscribed tray with six matching cups simply belongs to a different pot, either tea or coffee.
I’m liking the tea- and coffeepot idea, but no matter what these “officially” are, I find all the pieces very beautiful, including my hand-carved wood tray with inlaid brass, also from India. Indeed, a “great display of . . . craftsmanship.”