A sample of loose leaf ‘Russian tea’
A small sample of loose-leaf tea raises more questions than can be answered: is it Queen Mary tea or Russian? Was it produced in Britain, Russia, or as the catalogue record suggests, in Tibet? What is its story?
Roman Wine in a Cambridgeshire Grave
A chance discovery of a chaotically arranged grave led to the most important Iron Age find in the Cambridge area for many years. Discover more about wine amphorae, grave goods, and what they can tell us about Iron Age Europe.
Dragons, Monk’s Caps, and Butter Tea: The Duomuhu
Have you ever tried Tibetan salty yak butter tea? If you visit a Tibetan household today, chances are the tea will be served in a 多穆壶 (duomuhu) like this. I explore the trajectory of the 多穆壶 (duomuhu) throughout history, and what it tells us about the politics of the Chinese empire.
The Tea Horse Road
Michael Freeman, photographer and author of ‘Tea Horse Road: China’s Ancient Trade Road to Tibet’, explores the pressed tea bricks in MAA’s collections and the longest trade route in the ancient world.
May you always have alcohol and meat
By James Lin Alcoholic beverages made from fermented rice and sorghum grains were considered ritually important in ancient China. This post explores alcohol and immortality in the Han Dynasty (206BCE – 220CE).
Brick Tea and Currency
By Aayushi Gupta In my previous blog post on this object, I pursued one of the clues found on the label on its back. That label also gave us another clue – ‘Given to me by A.C. Haddon 29 Dec 1900’. Who was this tea brick given to? Why did Haddon give it to them?…
‘Square Face’: Gin, Currency, and Colonialism in Africa
By Mark Elliott A bottle of European gin made its way from Germany to Nigeria, where it was collected by an English missionary. Discover it’s stories of trade in West Africa, currencies, colonial exploitation, Christianity, traditional African religious practices, sociality, alcohol consumption and prohibition.
A Tea Brick Destined for Tibet
By Shuzhen Kong Ever tried to guess the flavour of tea just from looking at the leaves or bricks, without brewing? Or even just from photographs of them? Take a look at one example from MAA’s collections with me, and see what we can discover.
The Russian Brick Tea Trade in Hankou, China
By Aayushi Gupta In the object collections at MAA I found nine tea bricks – six from China, two from Tibet, and one unknown source. Encountering Russian inscriptions, however, did not make sense; were tea bricks produced in Russia? Where did they travel, and how did they get there?
Fancy a drink? Chicha: An Ancient Maize-Based Fermented Brew
By Jimena Lobo Guerrero Arenas When thinking of alcoholic beverages in the pre-Columbian world, chicha occupies a prominent place. For us, then, chicha provides an excuse to explore collections at MAA in search of maize-relate objects.