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Teapots

The teapot part of the collection started somewhat accidentally, when I had to buy a teapot in order to get a creamer that I wanted.  Then – just like with the silver and Staffordshire ones – when we moved to England for a couple years, things changed.  I think the one that really got me hooked on cow teapots was Andy Titcomb’s ‘Bull in a China Shop’ (see below…), which we found in a lovely tea shop on Neal Street, just north of Covent Gardens. But then, if it hadn’t been one of his, it probably would have been one of the others.  So now there are some two hundred, some here, some shown in other theme sections.  And – just as suiteki (the Japanese word for a water dropper used for calligraphy) have joined Pitchers -  here ‘Nandi’ water pots – which I initially mistook for an Indian version of a teapot – have joined this collection.  They can be found down at the bottom of the page.

2 black and white teapots

These two are my favorites.  We bought both in Virginia, one directly from the artisan at a craft fair in  Gaithersburg in 1995, the other in a gift shop in the summer of 2007…they are hand crafted by Carol E. Myers of Chincoteague Island, Va.  She makes a number of other animal teapots as well.  Her shop was closed when we visited the island for a birding trip in 2015, so I’m very glad I bought these while she was still working.

Here’s a third from Carol Meyers, that I got via eBay (much cheaper than in the store or at the fair!). I believe it is an early version since it lack some of the ‘frills’ of the others and seems to have a somewhat cruder head.

Here are four more very beautiful and well-crafted teapots from another Virginia Artisan,  Christy Crews Dunn of The Sylvan Studios, Keysville (http://ccdunn.startlogic.com).  A friend pointed me to the marvelous hand-thrown and carved ‘effigy’ animal pots on her web site, and unsurprisingly I felt compelled to add her work to my collection. So…I contacted her and commissioned these four teapots – a Texas Longhorn, an Angus bull, and the Jersey and Holstein – as well as two creamers.  These pots are quite large and heavy, so my wife and I elected to drive to Keysville to pick them up after our stay in Chincoteague, and we had a delightful time meeting Christy, learning a bit more about her history and technique, and touring her studio. 

This lovely small Japanese red clay teapot was hand-crafted by the noted craftsman Kameoka Katushi, a 4th generation potter of the “Motozo Kiln” in Tokoname, Japan. He is noted for his bonsai pots as well as his fanciful and beautifully crafted teapots. Wikipedia tells us that Tokoname was the location of one of the ‘Six Ancient Kilns’ of Japan, and that pottery from the town dates back to the12c. Ceramics production and commercial fishing are major components of the local economy.

This folk-art caricature is also hand-made, but from where and by whom I have no idea.  It came via eBay, and bears the mark “DN86” on the left front leg. 

titcomb teapottitcomb teapot

Here’s the infamous bull in the china shop, dating from 1994, and a 2006 teapot with milk and cheese on its lid from the same maker.  Andy Titcomb makes limited-run teapots, and salt and pepper shakers, at his studio in North Cornwall. Check his web site at www.andytitcomb.com.

This is a 'rare' brown version of Andy Titcomb's 1994 bull in a china shop, showing both sides of this massive and beautiful teapot.

This large (8”x12”) and beautiful cow teapot was an early design of  Paul Cardew’s, dating from the 1980’s when he was trading as South West Ceramics.  He is probably better known among cow teapot afficiandos for his bottles with a cow head sticking out, shown with some more information about him a few sections down. .I acquired this lovely “Milka” cow (via eBay) from Sue Blayze of Tea Pot Island.   I believe she holds the world record for teapot collections –she has some 6400 of which 1600 or so are displayed and discussed on her marvelous website, www.teapotisland.com.  If you are at all interested in teapots, this is a must-visit site.  She noted that this one is ‘rare’ – I had earlier bought one that broke in shipment (lousy packaging) from a chap who said there were only 250 made – but that it was also made in brown and black.  I suppose this one could go in “the “Advertising” section since it’s a lovely rendition of the Milka purple cow and proudly bears the brand name. For those of you that don’t know Milka, well, you’re missing something very tasty.

 

Here is the black and white version of the ‘Milka’ cow – why two of them?  Well, just like Milka the first one I bought arrived broken, although in this case I was able to decently patch it up.  But when another one came up on offer a year or so later, I was able to work with the seller to arrange safe, if expensive, shipping.

 

 

Here is the more widely known and available Paul Cardew teapot. The one in front, accompanied by a shot of its base, is the prototype for the “Cardew Design 2000”  (as it says in raised letters on the gold lid) teapot and similar items.  It has pretty blue eyes and light brown horns, which are missing in the commercial versions that followed.  The seller says that his boss acquired this one at a silent auction in 2000 at a Harmony Kingdom Convention in Lake Geneva, WI. It was signed by Paul Cardew at that event.

 

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Here’s the resulting “Cardew Designs 2000” cow tea set including the sugar bowl and creamer.  From the Cardew Design North America Inc (established in 1999 to increase business in the US and Canada) website we learn that Paul Cardew attended art school at Loughborough University, then taught art part time at Exeter University. He broke into commercial work with successful commissions for ceramic brooches for Harrods and piggy banks for the National Westminster Bank, then launched his teapot designs in 1975 at the Birmingham spring fair. His initial company, Sunshine Ceramics (we learn from Andy Titcomb’s website that Sunshine Ceramics was started by Paul along with his wife Karen, and Hillary Watters and her partner David Symonds, and that Andy joined them in 1978 and left in 1983), transitioned into Cardew Design in 1991, and they entered North American markets in 92. Cardew has designed for a number of well known brands including Portmerion and Royal Dalton, but most famously for Disney for which he did over a hundred designs. The North America company acquired the international rights to the Cardew name and trademarks in 2008, and continues to produce new designs.

teapotteapotteapot

Milk bottles with cow heads sticking out of them have been produced by quite a number of companies.  Paul Cardew of Devon, UK is responsible for the ones with spiky dark green grass around the bottom…including the little miniature.

This ‘beauty’ is signed and marked for John Groth, ’87.  It comes up on occasion on eBay, usually with a high reserve (mine didn’t, thankfully; one of my few ‘good deals’).  He has a web site – johngrothglass.com – that features fused glass and clay, for which he holds a patent.  That site doesn’t give much of his history, but elsewhere I’ve found that he started working in ceramics in 1970, developed a thermal-shock-resistant version of porcelain in 1985, and started fusing glass and clay in 1986.  His web site does show a number of teapots (but not this one) and other ceramic items, but all are dated 1997 or earlier so I assume he now focuses on his fused glass pieces.

Here is another magnificent teapot by another well known ceramics artist, Tom
Hatton. There are three of his creamers in the ‘Favorite Brands’ page – and here
is a matching teapot and cup, dated 1992. The story about him on his web page,
www.tomhattonceramics.com, notes that his commercial work began with the American Craft Council in 1983, and that in 1995 he switched to doing more one-of-a-kind pieces. This teapot and cup thus came from his more ‘commercial’ period. Be that as it may, he crafts really fun cows.
1 Here’s the same teapot again, this time with a matching (at least also from 1992) sugar and creamer.

This is my favorite of the ‘mass produced’ teapots, strange as it may be; I’ve been looking for one by this maker for a very long time.  It’s Gzhel, a high quality Russian ceramic which takes its name from the village and surrounding area of Gzhel southeast of Moscow, that has been producing distinctive blue and white pottery since 1802 (there’s a nice little article about it on Wikipedia, as well as several other descriptions on various web sites).  My wife and I have several lovely pieces of Gzhel that we purchased during our visits to Russia, but I had never seen a cow (though I looked long and hard) until this one turned up on eBay.  The seller notes that she bought it from the Gzhel factory store in Vladivostok while she was at the US consulate there between 2000 and 2002.  I am absolutely delighted to add it to my collection.

These two caricatures are also Russian – they came to be from Vologoda, but the seller said that they were made by a ‘master’ who came to Vologoda from Moscow, and who has a small workshop.

This whitish and silver cow bears a slight family resemblance to the Gzhel teapot, but it’s unmarked. It could as easily be some sort of mythical beast as a cow, but of course I had to get a close-up look so couldn’t resist buying it. 

 

This “hot mama” was made in China. Cute, and the only one I’ve seen

Here’s Vandor’s “Cowmen Mooranda” of 1988 in the teapot version – there’s also a large pitcher that’s shown in the Heads theme.

This fun caricature comes from Blue Sky Clayworks, and was created by Canadian artist Heather Goldminc.  You can read about her and her work on her homepage, www.heathergoldminc.com

Here’s another really wild one – complete with rhinestones for eyes, nostrils, and sundry decorations.  This is one of those that no one but a collector could love, so the eBay price was a bargain.

I'll confess to cheating a bit with the long-necked rhinestone teapot, since it came without its creamer and sugar and I added a couple tiny cups just so the hooks didn't look foolish.  Well, several years later, along came this complete one, without rhinestones, and I couldn't resist.  It did however cost $1 more than its partner.

If you think those are weird, try these. The one with the dark purple head, knobby horns and bulgy red nose (which is actually a stopper) is most likely from Thames of Japan. It still has a couple of the cups that are supposed to hang on the little hooks (these are the ones I ‘borrowed’ for use with the rhinestone long-neck), but also has had a couple of its hooks broken off. Its companion has a hole at either end, and is designed to hold two different liquids. I tried it and it does indeed have two separate compartments. Presumably it originally came with a sugar and creamer like the ones above.

This variation on the long-skinny-funny-looking-cow theme comes with 6 cups each stamped “Japan” but with only a single hole, under the nose stopper.  Heavens knows whether it was intended to hold tea, sake, or whatever…

This stoneware teapot with brass bells around the neck is entitled “Buffalo and Bird Friends”, and was bought from Novica, which operates in association with National Geographic and sells all kinds of articles crafted by artists and artisans from several countries in South America, Africa and Asia.  This lovely teapot came from Bali or Java and was made (their site informs me) by Tat Yan Soo, who “was born in November 1955.  As a lover of nature and avid gardener, he wanted to create designs that revolved around flora and fauna. He also loves to cook, so he strives to craft products that are decorative, functional and durable.” 

This floppy eared black and white cow wins the prize for the biggest ceramic bell. It bears a 2001 copyright mark, is called “Oh My Darling Cow”, and hails from “Ontario CA 91761, Handcrafted in China, © Character Collectibles.

I always try to find a cow creamer or teapot when my wife and I take an overseas trip.  I do have a Latvian creamer that I bought through eBay, and thus had high hopes for our jaunt through the Baltic nations, but was devoid of success until near the end, when I found this teapot in a teashop in Vilnius, Lithuania.  Unfortunately it’s not Lithuanian – rather it is marked for “Jameson & Tailor, Artists of the World, strange 200”, a German company whose bilingual website www.jameson-tailor.de proudly states “Tea and coffe (sic) accessories are our passion”.

Here’s astrange one – a cow jester, dressed in a box…accompanied by a salt shaker, for some reason…presumably because the other parts of the set got lost. The only sticker on it says ‘hand wash only’, and it’s made from some very heavy material, so I have no idea about its origins.

3 fancy cow teapots

Three more fanciful teapots – the one on the left is by “Egg Tokes, ©sigma the tastesetter”.  A matching creamer and sugar are in the Modern Variations theme.  The other two arrived via eBay (the round one on the right from Calgary Alberta), with no further information.

This one probably shouldn’t count because it just has cow or rather bull heads rather then the whole animal shape, but it’s homemade…the writing on the bottom looks to me like “Mbiiers”… and rather intriguing. I coudn’t resist.

This ‘veggie’ calf is marked for CBK Ltd of Taiwan (to learn more about CBK, check out the aluminum cow creamer near the bottom of page 3 of Modern Variations), and dated 1988;

and this one with the bluebird on its lid and a milk bottle for a spout has a leaf-shaped tag for “Khein Ceramic”.

This simple pure white lazy teapot is unmarked.

This rather large brown and white cow is also unmarked, but bears a rather colorful roosted on its back.  It came damaged, with a re-glued left ear, but I have never seen another like it.

Here’s a large pretty Holstein decorated with fruit and vegetables from the Signature Home Collection, made in China. I bought this one on eBay in 2004. I liked it enough that I recently tried to get a duplicate, but it arrived with a broken tail from too-tight packaging.

Seemingly identical, these three teapots have somewhat different histories. The one on the right, which came to me from Germany, is stamped for “Erphila, Germany” and bears the mold mark 718. Erphila ia the mark used by Ebeling and Reuss, a giftware importer and distributor founded in 1886 in Philadelphia (thus E…R…Phila) and sold to Strathmore Corp in 2002, on porcelain and art work imported from Europe. The Erphila, Germany mark would indicate that it was made by Porzellanfabrik Carl Schumann of Arzburg Bavaria which traces its history to 1876 and closed in 1994 (see PM&M, www.porcelainmarksandmore.com/bavaria/arzberg_2/00.php). Apparently in spite of the Erphila mark it never made it out of Germany, or somehow it made a return trip. The cow on the left bears the same mold mark but also a conjoined “AK” and the word foreign, which indicates it was imported for sale into the UK, which is where I got it. The middle teapot looks very similar but has a different mold mark and is both stamped and has a sticker for Cortendorf, the Bavarian city (today Coburg-Cortendorf) where (from PM&M) Porzellanfabrik Julius Griesbach operated from 1890 until the factory was taken over by Goebel in 1973. Interestingly, most Cortendorf teapots like this were sold unmarked to Ebeling and Reuss, but pretty obviously this one was sold into the US under the Cortendorf label. Not only was this an apparently popular German-made animal teapot, but…

it was also copied in the UK. Here the teapot on the left, seemingly identical to its German cousins, is stamped for Price Bros England, and clearly marked “Made in England”. The Stoke on Trent Potteries web site tells us that Price Bros. started as an earthenware manufacturer at Crown Works, Burslem from 1896-1903, continued as Price Bros (Burslem) Ltd at Top Bridge Works, Longport & the Albion Works, Burslem from 1903-1961, and became part of Price & Kensington Potteries Ltd, from 1 Jan 62 on. The mark on this treapot was used by them from 1934 till 1961. The Japanese also seem to have gotten into the act with somewhat similar teapots, although their interpretation shown here is simply stamped Made in Japan.

1 red japanese teapot

This is also Japanese, I believe. It came from an antique mall in Annapolis, MD. Can anyone help with the writing?

This small and very nicely crafted water buffalo teapot with a bird on its lid that’s lashed to its tail with a red macramé string is fashioned from hard dark clay and is chased in an interesting pattern.  It’s quite small and could serve as a creamer, but it’s much more likely that it was designed to hold tea.  It has oriental writing – Japanese I believe – on the bottom.

Here is an unmarked, sacred or mythical cow.

Now for a series of sets – teapots with creamers and sugars, and an occasional pitchers or salt and peppers.   This “Tabletop Set” is also made in China, but for an American importer;

Here’s another Made in China set, marked “©KMC”.  There’s a matching set of storage jars that go with it.

This pretty set, with two teapots/pitchers, is titled “Peaceful Kingdom” and claims to be hand painted faience, “exclusively for ©Seymour Mann, Inc”, dated 1992.  I certainly can’t quibble about its exclusivity, but would wonder if this isn’t a bit of a loose usage of the term faience.

Two other made in china sets, the round guys with the gold bells marked for “©J.S.N.Y.”, and the ‘barnyard’ set with bandannas and chickens on the teapot and sugar from Appletree Design .

China yet again…this time a strange looking checkerboard caricature, from “Unique Produx, Inc.”

tea set

This set of knitters bears the sticker of Applause, Inc., and was made in Thailand.

tea set tea set

Cows go well with farm scenes.  The lady with the apron is from Coopercraft, Made in England; and the hand painted “Cow in the Corn” set is by Clay Art of San Francisco, and was made in Taiwan.

Yet another farmer – apple growers this time.  They’re from Trippie’s, Inc, and were made in China.  For some reason I keep forgetting that I have this set – I have ended up with three of the teapots, the last one bought at (of all places) Rock City on the top of Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN.  I guess I was bewitched by their fairies.

Loblaws Inc of Canada designed this cute Chef  set (French Chef of course), © 2007 and stamped “Life@Home and La vie @hez soi”, ‘spring meadow’ théière (Produit de Chine, of course…). Loblaws started in 1919 in Toronto as something new for the time – a ‘groceteria’ which combined self-service and cash and carry. They weathered hard times by introducing many innovations (including No Name products, President’s Choice, banking, and more recently Joe Fresh Style clothing), and today operate a successful chain of ‘market’ stores. For us Yanks that aren’t familiar with them, there’s a fun history of this innovative company on their great web page at www.loblaws.ca. I’d like to thank them for one of the neatest cow teapot sets I’ve seen in quite awhile.

This set comes from Andrea by Sadek, per their web page: “also known as the Charles Sadek Import Company or j. willfred, Andrea by Sadek is a product line with over 2,000 products in 20 categories. ”  They were made in China. There are several other cows from this gift and tableware company scattered through out the web site.

This flat-faced group is part of a “Grandeur Gift Set” by “TOP maestro”, made in China. In addition to these pieces the set contains 4 cups and saucers. 

This unmarked, though likely post-war Japanese, set is of very heavy ceramic.  The teapot still bears a few signs of black cold paint.

This set, which has a huge salt and pepper as well as the pitcher, sugar and creamer, bears an impressed “Japan” on the base.  It would appear to be designed to resemble the cows popularized by geo. z. lefton, see the Brands theme. 

This pristine, never used set that’s about a decade or more old comes complete with salt, pepper and cups and is marked for Otagiri.  Another one of the teapots and the little girl creamer were in the ‘Brands’ theme where that company was described.  I got those two separately, but was pleased to be able to get a full set.

tea set

Here are three older sets. The vertically stacked black ones are by Thames of Japan. The sets with heads on the handles – one water buffalos, the other cows – are unmarked, but I’d guess both sets to be from the same factory.

This is another interesting old Japanese made tea set, with just heads for the creamer and sugar.  It has a rectangular blue sticker with a white rim and “Japan” in white.

tea set

This is an unmarked set – bought obviously for the creamer.

These ladies in their pearls and fancy hats – teapot, pitcher and creamer - bear a made in China sticker.  They came from Australia via eBay.

These are from Otagiri, now one of the Enesco brands of ceramic collectibles.  The design is copyrighted for Elizabeth King Brownd, and they were manufactured in Malaysia.  As noted in Favorite Brands, Oragiri has produced quite a few cow creamers over the years.

The hefty round headed farmer in the green overalls is marked from the “Down Home Collection Made Exclusively for Roshco in the Philippines ©1995”.  Little boy blue, asleep in the hay with accompanying tiny cups, is from Department 56, and was made in China.

More farmers – two with corn, one with carrots that have endeared him to the little rabbit, one with flowers (marked “Young’s, China”) and one in blue overalls just sort of standing there (savoy housewares, made in China).

This unmarked white and black cow seems to enjoy being milked.

These two cows seem to have outgrown their barns.  The one on the left has a blue and white sticker from “The Manual Woodworkers and Weavers inc” (what they’re doing with a cow in a barn is beyond me), and the one on the right is impressed with “Mercuries 1994” and has a gold Mercuries, Pennsylvania, Made in China sticker.

The teapots on the left in both pictures, with what look like shells for horns, are paint-it-yourself ceramics.   Some people are better artists than others.  The blue ceramic teapot sort of resembles them.   The guy with the hat and the calf on his lap (from Lilian Vernon) must be doing something strange to that poor little animal to make it yelp so. 

Many years after I got the guy with the calf on his lap, I encountered his partner (wife? niece?) holding a similar bawling calf. So I guess he wasn’t doing anything strange after all.

Here are a couple musicians, but I bet they don’t play in the same band.  The cowboy with guitar is copyrighted for Russ Berrie & Co., and was made in China. There is a cream, and sugar that I think may accompany it, but they don’t have instruments.  The Blues Brothers saxophonist comes from Omnibus, ©OCI, and was made in the Philippines in 1993.

This happy cowboy, done with a fair amount of detail, hails from Trans-world Associates, Inc. For those who may wish to visit, they’re located at 2f, No.20, Min Chuan West Road, Taipei , ROC , and their web site (www.transworldinc.com) proudly notes that they have “been manufacturing sundry goods since 1965. We mainly export giftware, housewares, bathroom accessories, garden supplies, lighting covering ceramics, wooden ware, glassware, plastic ware, and metal goods. In view of our steady increase in business, long experience, sound organization and efficient service, our company has won a good reputation among our overseas customers…Trans-World Associates is a specialist in product invention and development. We employ a knowledgeable team of more than 100 people who creates an average of 150 new items annually.”

Zis vache ees ze French producteur de lait…or so she appears to be, sporting a pink beret with blue overalls.  Made in China, of course.

We have to cross the Channel to England for this natty gentleman. At least, that’s where he came from to my collection (though I suspect he wasn’t made there)

Dancing teapot

This waiter is also from Omnibus OCI 1994, and I guess he does bear a certain resemblance to the sax player.  The dancing pair is from The Good Company, a division of Applause, Inc.  It’s dated 1989 and was made in Korea.

This would appear to be the twin of the waiter above, only with a slightly different colored suit. Hard to tell if that’s intentional or just happenstance.

This cow on wheels comes from the Certified International Corporation, ©Susan Winget, and was made in Thailand.

This is “Sunshine”, or so it’s inscribed on the bottom…made in Taiwan.  I must admit I don’t get the connection between the name, the chef’s hat, the overalls and the pitchfork. Not the world’s most beautiful cow teapot, but it is big…

Royal Doulton teapots

It was the cow creamer that induced this purchase – albeit it’s a lovely Peter Rabbit rendition in its own right.  The Beatrix Potter figures were initially made by Beswick (see Favorite Brands), but they were bought by Royal Doulton in 1969.  This set dates from 1998.

This hot-pepper teapot was featured in the introductory section. It’s from Omnibus by Fitz and Floyd, and was made in Indonesia.  There’s a matching creamer and sugar.  The large white and grey teapot is unmarked.

This teapot is entitled “Fun at Breakfast” and was made in Thailand ‘exclusively’ for Debenhams, the UK Department store. 

No, it’s not a pig, it really is a cow…you can tell because it has horns. There is, however, a pig version which looks very, very similar…both by Roman, in their Patchwork Giftware line. Roman, Inc. is an Illinois-based producer and distributor of giftware and accessories.

This lumpy cow with flowers and a baby riding on top was made in China for Collections, Inc. Although it’s sort of cute I’m not overly pleased with it, for two reasons – first it’s marked ‘for decorative purposes only’ – and what good is a teapot in which you can’t make tea? And second, it’s poorly made – when it arrived, the lid wouldn’t fit properly on to the pot. I had to do a bit of surgery with a dremel tool to get it to fit.

Although unmarked, I’m almost positive that this purple and yellow caricature comes from Ucagco, made in Japan.  There are three sets of Ucagco cows as well as a bit of information about the company about halfway down on the sugar and creamers page, as well a  fair number of their cow creamers scattered through the Modern Variations pages.  While they used several different molds, all are more or less similar in style, with the bulgy eyes, bulbous nose, and a rope and bell around the neck. 

zow cow teapot

The little purple and white cow with the tree on its back was made in Taiwan; I’ve had it since ’95.   The red and white one with the blue bow simply bears the mark ‘A3’.  Zow Cow, the three-piece ‘tea for one’ lid, pot and large cup who has center stage here, came from Italy in summer ’07.  Its box informs us it’s “Zoo tea”, Teiera e tazza in ceramica dipinta.

The sitting-up black and white cow with the blue rope that’s demonstrating how big a fish he caught is from Young’s, China.  The little lady with the asparagus licking her nose and the painter in the blue zip-up coveralls are unmarked; but the brownish and black creamer with stubby grey horns and a belt around the neck, that’s about to be painted yellow, is copyrighted for Cracker Barrel, and was made in China.

3 lady teapots

Here are three ladies, two with aprons and one with a basket of flowers.  The lady with the red apron hails from China, and the one with the white apron and light blue dress is a paint-it-yourself ceramic. You might recognize her as being from the same mold as the farm-scene lady dressed in green shown earlier.

The black and white cow with the pink nose and bandana and a brown chicken roosting on her back is a tea-for-one pot and cup.  It’s from Certified International Corporation, made in China.  The other four here are ‘barnyard stacks’ – the one with the big pink pig with the flowers on its butt and a standing rooster on its back is by Figi Graphics of San Diego, dated 2001, and was made (guess where?) in China.  The black and white cow giving a lift to a sheep and hen is copyrighted for E.K.Brown, and is by Otagiri, Japan.  The one that’s squished between the pig and the cat on a cushion is by Highland Arts, and the black and white cow bearing the sprawled pink pig and spotted chicken is from Clay Art’s 1992 “Stacked Animals Series”, made in the Philippines.

This and the next few pictures include a number of tea-for-one cups and pots.  This one is from Price and Kensington, one of the traditional potteries of  Stoke on Trent. Its tag says that P&K is part of the Arthur Wood Group; trying to find them on the web, it turns out that they in turn have been acquired and are now part of the Rayware Group  (www.rayware.co.uk).  There has apparently been a lot of consolidation and re-shuffling (along with closures) in British ceramics in the last few years. The Rayware web site notes that the Arthur Wood Company was founded in 1884, and that the origins of the Wood family go back over 250 years to the famous master potters Ralph and Enoch Wood. 

2 Black and white cows

The cup/pot in the middle, with the crossed eyes and ears sticking out, is marked for Bella Cassa , by Ganz.  The calves flanking it are unmarked, but have companion pig and bunny versions. There’s a very similar one – only the cup is different – in the other picture, next to an unmarked ceramic cow whose lid is the top of its head.

The tea-for-one on the left with the ever-popular rooster on its back is standing next to a pitcher in the same pattern, by Dennis East International, Inc, ©2002, Made in China.

Here are a couple more ‘tea for one’ sets – the one with the daisies is from Clay Art of San Francisco, © 1994, Made in Sri Lanka.  The ones with a bucket for a spout and corn around the bottom are a good example of similar molds in use by more than one potter. The one on the right has “Paula” written on the bottom along with a light green sticker that reads “BP, Paula’s Place”. The one on the left bear an impression for “© GARE Inc 96”.  Apparently the copyright expired, or Paula chose to ignore it. Whatever, it’s a rather cute little teapot.

These two are, as far as I know, the only two teapots from Cows on Parade – “Where’s the Beef” on the left, and “Fruits of Summer” on the right.  They’re marked “©2000 CowParade Holdings Corporation, China”.

The orange and white teapot on the bumpy brown base is by Moorland, from “Staffordshire, Chelsea Works Burslem, England”.  A black and white version, along with a matching creamer, is shown in Favorite Brands.  The splotchy blue version, which appears to be from an identical mold, is unmarked.

3 teapots

The teapot in the middle came in a box marked “Kitchen Basics Novelty Teapot, Imported & Distributed by Port-Style Enterprises Inc, Markham, Ontario, Canada, Made in China”.  The two flanking it are both from Wood Pottery of Burslem.  As noted above, the Woods of Burslem date back to the three brothers Ralph, Aaron and Moses, born in the early 1700s.  The potteries web (www.thepotteries.org) site has quite a bit of information about them (and many other famous Staffordshire potters…and it lists some 32 Wood’s, including a Tony Wood whose studio produced a number of creamers in my collection…at any rate, more than enough Woods to thoroughly confuse me), including the tidbit that “Wood & Sons called in the receivers in February 2005.” 

4 cow teapots

Some black and white cows have birds.  From left to right, these are from Wang’s International Inc, dated 1993 and made in China; a repeat of the Certified International Corporation’s tea-for one; from Albert E Price Products of Bellmawr, NJ (made in China); and Midwest Importers of Cannon Falls, Inc (made in Taiwan).

3 Cow Teapots wearing bandanas

  Some cow teapots wear bandanas…the one on the left is from Cook’s Club, the others are unmarked…

Here are three more made-in-China teapots, two with bandannas; the middle one is marked for “Oriental Eagle”.  The one on the right, with the red bandanna, matches a creamer and sugar from Trippies, Inc. that I bought separately sometime later.  It has to be a bit uncomfortable since its udder is sticking out on both sides as well as in front.

More cows with birds.  The one on the left is entitled “Darjeeling Bessie Teapot”.  In the center is a teapot from Potpourri Designs, and on the right is “Priscilla the Cow” by Peter Mook, whose name is incised in gold in the cow’s side.

Three sitting up, three lying down.  The one with the yellow necktie is by Standard Specialty Company, made in Taiwan.  The kneeling cow with the white daisies on her lid is from Andrea by Sadek, made in Japan.  In the middle is “Sweet Bessie’s Bouquet, © 1996 Karen Bell, Licensee, Giftcraft Inc, 14120, Handpainted in China”.  And the one on the right is marked “Design by Greg M Vale for Martinvale, Made in China”

These three don’t really have much in common except for the lack of marks. The one with the flat nose, somewhat reminiscent of a couple of the ones on the left just above, is of rather light and thin ceramic. The smiling cow caricature with the bandanna and a chicken taking a ride is heavy porcelain with a lovely glossy glaze. It does bear the usual – these days – ‘Made in China’ sticker. 

This is a rather nice if unmarked interpretation that deserves a little section of its own because it's the only teapot in my collection that has a fly on the lid. Schuppe would be proud.

These two teapots were both made in Taiwan – the one with the rooster is stamped for Midwest Imports of Camden Falls, Inc, and the little gal with the pink bow came to me from the UK.

Here are three rather unusual teapots.  The one with the purple hat on the back has a sticker that attributes it to Dolgencorp, Inc, of Goddlettsville TN (made in China of course).  In the middle is a shopping lady from Gempo Giftware of Japan; and on the right, bearing a picnic lunch, is “Cornwallis the Cow Teapot”, a Kelly Theodore creation from Encore, ©KT and TEG, …once again, made in China.

The two on the left are made in China, the one with the calf on the lid from “Special Issue for Apex”.  On the right is a creamer marked for R.H.Macy & Co, made in Taiwan.

The ‘earthenware, Chubby Cow Tea Kettle’ is marked for J.S.N.Y. China.  Its three chubby neighbors are, from left to right, from Taiwan (with a mark of two hands around a flower, and S and E above the hands); from China, ©Popular Creations 2003; and unmarked, but having come to me from Queensland, Australia.

Yet more chubby, indeed round cow teapots .The one with the bird and big bulbous red nose has a bright oval yellow and maroon sticker that reads  "tii Collections, D7097 Ceramic Cow w/Bird Creamer, Handcrafted in China for Transpac, Vacaville, CA".  The one with the orange noise that's either flying or so fat its hooves don't reach the ground is English, by "Funky Animals" of Daventry, NN11 1AB.  Probably quite an embarrassment to its dignified Staffordshire ancestors.   The spherical one with small head and miniscule brown horns is unmarked.

And another, this one Made in China but bought from an Australian seller.

Yet another Made in China, unusual only in that she has a double bell.

These two are beyond chubby – pudgy, maybe. Neither is marked.

Cows with cows – two interpretations of calves getting a lift from Mom.  The one on the left is from EDC, Made in China; the other is unmarked

Here are some black and white cows.  The kneeling middle teapot in the left hand picture of three is from Otagiri, made in Japan; those flanking it are unmarked.   The two stubby caricatures on the right, one standing in grass next to a matching creamer and the other with white stars for a necklace, are made of very thick ceramic.  They are colored with what is called ‘cold paint, meaning applied over the glaze; thus it rubs off easily.  Although unmarked, from the nature of the paint and the material, I’d guess they were fairly early post-WWII Japan.

The winsome looking fat hornless cow in the left is unmarked; its neighbor, whose white horns are curled forward and touch in the middle making its head look flat, simply has Japan incised.

This quite small caricature bears a decal that reads “Editions Atlas Collections” and came to me from France.  As if often the case these days, in the US as well as from other countries, the postage cost more than the cow.

Here are three photos of small or miniature teapots.  The tiniest one, the farmer with the milk bottle, is less than 3” tall.  The cowboy that’s standing next to the hugging Holsteins may actually be intended as a creamer, since it’s a close match to (though bought separately from) the earlier pictured cowboy with guitar, and is marked for the same maker, Russ Berrie & Co. 

2 black and white whistling teapots

These are metal whistling tea kettles, quite widely available.  The one on the left is Copco’s “Mrs. Moo”, and the one on the right from Kammenstein. Both are made in Taiwan. 

I found this one in the fabulous Old Forge Hardware Store in the NY Adirondacks. Its box says, “Supreme Housewares, Made in Taiwan”. I tried it, and when the water boils it does indeed say “moooo…”, albeit at a rather high pitch. They also make them shaped as roosters, giraffes, and mallards. Their (wholesale only) website states “Supreme Housewares contain products that are never ordinary and always entertaining. About 14 years ago (meaning @1996) the vision of Supreme Housewares began by Michael Chen (CEO), who devotes time and product development to new products each year”. They operate out of Fremont, CA.

It turns out that Supreme Housewares makes cow kettles in more than one style. This one is shown with its head up. 

I generally have tried to avoid teapots with just pictures of cows – but the head of one on on the left is sticking out so it sort of counts, and the one on the right came as part of a set with a couple pitchers.

My wife thinks these are extremely ugly, and I find it hard to argue with her.  But beauty isn’t one of the criteria for the collection, so…they’re here, even though near the end of this theme.  The brown one, although unmarked, is most likely Thames of Japan based on the red clay, frosted brown coloring and gold knobs on the horns. The white and purple set with the big flat red noses bears the red and gold stickers of  “Lipper and Mann Creations, Japan”.  This company was founded in April 1946 as an importer of glass and ceramics from Czechoslovakia and other European companies. They had a showroom on 5th Avenue in NY, and sold to department stress and other retail outlets.  They began importing from Japan in 1947, and I’d imagine that this set dates from around then. There was a period when ugly was popular… Mr. Lipper bought out Mr. Mann in 1963, and the company since then has been Lipper International; their website from which I derived this info is www.lipperinternational.com.

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These cow-jumped-over-the-moon teapots don’t meet my criteria and I wouldn’t have gotten them if there was only one version, but as you can see there are at least three.  Hey diddle diddle is popular with kids, so these were most likely designed for children’s teas.  From top to bottom they are from Blue Moon (complete with tea), Dept 56, and Wang’s International. 

I never should have bought this one – don’t usually go for ones with just the head of a cow – but I guess I was intrigued by the fact that something as hokey as this would be marked “Holland”. And sure enough, on the base it says “Blue Delft, Deco, Handpainted, Holland”.  At 5 GBP it was cheap enough, although the shipping cost was horrendous.

 

 

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Here starts a section of oriental – mostly Chinese - teapots featuring bulls or water buffalo, and made in a variety of materials. I suspect that most of these have been produced for the tourist trade rather than actual use, albeit at least one – further down the page – has certainly seen some hard use.  The little pots shown here seem to be a quite popular shape – what appears to be a water buffalo head for the spout, and another with curled horns for the lid.   I have two metal ones, and one in dark green clay.

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This is also definitely a water buffalo – it came to me from Australia (via eBay), so although it’s unmarked, and very heavy ceramic, I suspect that it was probably made Indonesia, Thailand, or somewhere in that vicinity.

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This one is definitely a bulgy-eyed cow (or bull), with a water buffalo on the lid. It came straight from Beijing (via eBay), at the price of $.01…but with a shipping cost of $43. Worth every penny, as they say.

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I think this is a quite lovely modern Chinese interpretation…and it came in its own padded box.

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This Chinese one is also boxed, but is hardly lovely.  It’s very heavy, of some unidentifiable grey material – and the ‘cow’ or water buffalo has a body that’s very rat-like.  It’s about the meanest cow in the stable, from the looks of the teeth.  Truly weird.  And it came to me from Australia.

The lovely, simple little Yixing purple clay teapot on the right here came to me from Hong Kong.  Yixing clay teapots are quite popular these days because their unglazed surfaces absorb traces of the tea, creating a more complex flavor…but for that same reason they should always be used with the same variety of tea, and never washed with soap.   This type of clay derives its name from the location where it’s found, a region near the city of Yixing in Jiangsu Province.  The Wikipedia article about it states that its use dates back to the Song dynasty. Its companion teapot on the left arrived from a much less exotic place – Texas – although the seller was Chinese. It’s delightfully unusual in that the cow or water buffalo head embellishes the handle rather than serving as a spout.

This one has the same face as the one above that has the head on the handle, but here it serves the normal function of a spout.

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Here are two additional red clay Chinese teapots (shipped from Beijing), both with interesting modern shapes and featuring a stylized figure with a conical hat on the lid.

These are two identical and fairly large interpretations of the reclining water buffalo with  a napping boy on its back.  One is of dark red clay, and the other was sold as ‘amber’ – yeah, sure…amber colored plastic that is. The clay one came from Beijing, and its amber cousin from “Zhujinlin, Shifosi Zhenping, Nanyang Henan China”.

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Here are four quite similar interpretations in jade or stone. Given the nature of the material they must have been carved as opposed to molded, but whether by hand or machine it’s impossible to say.  In the picture of three, the dark one with the pug nose and a round knob on the lid was sold as “Tibetan Jade” and came from Hong Kong. The green one with a gourd on the lid – sold as Chinese jade – came from Wuhan, Hubei, and its black companion from Zhaenghou, Henan. The orange one on the little wooden stand is quite similar to the black one with the gourd, and I found it in an antique mall in Annapolis MD.   I seriously doubt that these have any practical purpose other than decoration (and earning a bit of money for the carvers), albeit they do hold liquid and pour through the mouth.

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Two more: a heavy brown kneeling stone water buffalo with a straddle-legged bull riding its lid, and a somewhat different Asian interpretation, also stone of some sort and interestingly colored – with a disjointed front leg (shouldn’t bend that way) and a stoic red coated oriental man along for the ride.

Four more – the two with lazy boys, one on his back and the other kneeling, are yet more reclining water buffalo interpretations in clay.  The other two came from a gift shop at the ‘Airport Garden Hotel” where we spent our last light in Beijing before flying home  - one a water buffalo on a stand of some sort with a boy on the back, but the other – possibly a mythical beast – with a turtle on the lid and a bearded old man on the rump. Heavens only know what they’re made from – resin based something or other I’d guess. They looked better that evening, probably because we had a couple Chinese brews before we bought them.

These two are from identical molds, but one is said to be Tibetan silver, and the other is copper.  Both bear a 4-symbol Chinese mark in a square on the bottom. They are quite nicely sculpted, with considerable detail on the tree and the boy on the lid.  The boy with the flute riding a water buffalo or bull is a traditional Zen Buddhist theme – you can read more about this in the Suiteki section at the bottom of the Pitchers page.  The copper teapot here was somewhat corroded so I took a bit of polish to it – it also has a considerable amount of solidified material of some sort inside, so I doubt that it was really used just for tea.  Both came via eBay from Nanyang City, Henan China; interestingly the seller had simultaneously listed the silver one for $ and the copper one for £, probably not expecting some foolish collector to search ‘worldwide’ and decide to get both.

This one hails from Heian China, and was said to be Qing dynasty – actually a copy ofone from that era I’m certain – heavily decorated, with masks and embossing on thesides. Cow? Well that was how it was sold, and from the front it does resemble one. Phantasmagorical cow that is.

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Here are two more Chinese interpretations – this time cows for sure.  The set with the creamer and sugar is of very heavy thick ceramic, and has its “Made in China” in white on an oval red sticker.

To close out teapots, here are two fake collector’s versions, both by Nini, a company that makes a line of these in a variety of shapes.

This is a rather delightful little water buffalo with the boy resting on its back, and is included to remind me to read the eBay adds more closely…once it arrived and I found it had no holes, I got ready to chew out the seller for misinformation but on closer inspection found that it was described as a “tea pet”.  I’m not sure what that a tea pet is supposed to be or do, but I now have one.  At least it’s small and doesn’t take much room on my ‘whoops’ shelf.

NANDI – Hindu holy water pots and other temple cows and bulls

 

As I understand it (I get confused by Hindu deities), Nandi the white bull is Shiva’s vahana or vehicle, the mount on which he rides. A note from the Philadelphia Museum of Art adds that “Shiva is a great ascetic whose power emerges as contained sexual energy. Appropriately, he is accompanied by the virile bull. An image of Nandi sits in the hall or porch of temples dedicated to Shiva, facing into the sanctum like the primary devotee that it is.”  In ancient India, he was also an independent deity known as Nandikeshvara, the Lord of Joy, represented as a man with a bull’s head.  The folks who sold me this older copper version  – which comes from Jodhpur in Rajasthan – said that these pots are used by priests to spray holy water on the devotees who come to worship at Shiva’s shrine, or are carried by holy men to hold and  disperse holy water from the Ganges.   As you will note, this Nandi arrived very carefully packaged for safety in an old tin for Kashmir Snow Beauty Aids…

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Here are several more Nandi water pots in different configurations and types of metal.

Here are two small nandi water pots. The one on the left with nicely inscribed marks was said to be from Natal, but was shipped from Singapore. The copper one on the right is from India; it was very dirty and tarnished when it arrived so I cleaned it up a bit.

 

Yet another variant – a copper “Shivling Holy Water Cow Face Cone” according to the London-based seller.  The add for it on eBay stated:  ““All our Spiritual Products Are Spiritually activated With Mantras & Puja’s also known as Abhisheka by our Panditji Priest without any extra charges. Ideal to hang in temple over Shiva Linga – very auspicious to do Shiva Pooja”  Naturally this sent me to Wikipedia where I learned first that “Abhisheka, also called Abhishekam, is conducted by priests, by pouring libations on the image of the deity being worshipped, amidst the chanting of mantras. Usually, offerings such as milk, yogurt, ghee, honey, Panchaamrutam, sesame oil, rosewater, sandalwood paste may be poured among other offerings depending on the type of abhishekam being performed. This ritual is routinely performed in some Hindu and Jain temples. "Rudraabhisheka"  (Abhisheka of Rudra) is performed on Shiva lingams.”  Seeking further, I also found out that “A pandit or pundit is a scholar and a teacher, particularly one skilled in the Sanskrit language, who has mastered the four Vedic scriptures, Hindu rituals, Hindu law, religion, music, and/or philosophy under a Guru in a Gurukul or has been tutored under the ancient Vedic Guru-Shishya academic tradition. The English loan word pundit is derived from it.” 

I had thought that all these bull or cow shaped Hindu vessels were models of Shiva’s bull, used solely for holy water. Then this large and rather plain oval bodied ‘cow’ arrived, from a US seller. It contained a small leaflet entitled “Butter pot” that said “In India, the cow is believed to be “close to God” and can fulfill dreams and desires. This brass cow’s head kettle is used to hold the clarified butter, called Ghee, which fuels the holy flame that is kept lit at all time in Hindu Temples”.  As it turns out I have a few others of similar size and shape that I now believe to be other versions of ‘cows’ not bulls, used for Ghee.  They certainly are of a different shape and character than the holy water nandis…but nonetheless because of their use in Hindu temples I believe they belong in this part of the collection

Here are three open-topped Nandis – the largest and smallest came from Sunil Arts & Engg Works in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India, and the silver colored one from a seller in the US who presumably brought it back as a souvenir.  The well crafted tiny copper Nandi was said to be 70-80 years old, and used in temples. The largest one, with a stand under its chin and with internal ridges, was sold to me as a pot or ‘ash tray’ (which I doubt), but I have also seen an identical one described on eBay as a Kharal, which is essentially a mortar for grinding opium and making ‘opium water’ which is then taken through the bull’s mouth. Perhaps some kind Hindu can enlighten me – I can only say that I’m learning, slowly, that holy cows and bulls from India can have many manifestations and uses.