food, drink and feasting talk: tea drinking along the silk road

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Tea Drinking Along The Silk Road

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A talk from Helen Saberi, on Tuesday 23 April 2013 at the Horniman Museum. Given as part of the Collections People Stories project.


  • 1. Tea Drinking Along The Silk Road

2. Camellia sinensis An Indian 19th century watercolour 3. Camellia sinensis growing near the Black Sea in Turkey 4. A map of the Silk Road showing mountain areas and desert 5. A camel caravan on the move, packed with cases of tea, in a 1909 photograph 6. A tea brick from the Horniman Study Collections Centre 7. A glazed stoneware teapot from the Song Dynasty (AD 960 1279) (From the Horniman Museum Study Collection) 8. A tea bowl from the same period, again from the Horniman Collection. It is small and made of brown stoneware. 9. An Yixing teapot based on one of the Ming designs (From the Horniman Collection) 10. Also from the Ming period, a delicate porcelain handless cup which tea was sipped from (From the Horniman Collection) 11. A tea brick similar to one shown earlier except that is has a Chinese coin pressed into one corner and has been coated with resin for preservation. 12. Another tea brick which has four joined sections with circular and rectangular designs impressed on it. (From the Horniman Collecion) 13. Tea brick impressed with the Chinese character tian, meaning heaven (From the Horniman Collection) 14. A circular tea brick with a relief decoration. (From the Horniman Collection) 15. Men laden with tea bricks for Tibet 16. A Tibetan brass tea strainer (From the Horniman Collection) 17. Here is another more elaborate tea strainer. (From the Horniman Collection) 18. Churning Tibetan tea. (Drawing by Rinjing Dorje from his book Food in Tibetan Life) 19. A decorative and elaborate teapot probably from Tibet. (From the Horniman Collection) 20. Wooden tea bowl from Ladakh or possibly Kashmir (From the Horniman Collection) 21. An ornate brass and silver teapot from either Ladakh or Nepal (From the Horniman Collection) 22. A Kashmiri samovar with khos cups 23. A silver teapot from Gujarat, India 24. A little Uighur boy helping his father serve tea 25. Men enjoying a tea break in Xinjiang 26. A Kirghiz caravan criss-crossing a frozen river in the Pamirs (From Caravans to Tartary by Roland and Sabrina Michaud) 27. An Afghan woman making qymaq chai (Drawing by Abdullah Breshna in Afghan Food and Cookery) 28. Turkomen women relaxing with bowls of tea before returning to their weaving. (Photo from Caravans to Tartary) 29. A chai wallah in Kabul, Afghanistan Photo taken c. 2006 30. A chaikhana in Afghanistan 31. Another chaikhana 32. A tea vendor in the bazaar in the 1970s 33. Men in Samarkand enjoying tea at a chaikhana 34. An ornament of men drinking tea bought in Fergana Uzbekistan (From the Horniman Collection) 35. A tea set from Tashkent in Uzbekistan (From the Horniman Collection) 36. The teapot from Tashkent in Uzbekistan (Horniman Collection) 37. A Russian samovar from the 1900s. 38. Persian ladies around a samovar 39. Giant Turkish tea bags 40. Turkish tea served in tulip tea glasses 41. Horniman tea tin (From the Horniman Collection, no date given) 42. A Hornimans tin of Pure Boudoir Tea