tea caddy; lid (containers)

Hexagonal tea caddy covered with a flat, hexagonal lid. It is made of wood covered with red mottled lacquer. The exterior of the body is carved lightly with Chinese inscriptions in different styles: seal script, semi-cursive script, clerical script and regular script. Flat, hexagonal lid of the tea caddy, made of wood covered with red mottled lacquer. Top surface decorated with four Chinese characters carved in seal script, divided by a cross and enclosed within two hexagons.

Rev. Robert John Davidson (1864-1942) and his wife Mary Jane Davidson (1847-1918) were Quaker missionaries at the Friends' Foreign Mission Association in Chungking, Szechuan, China from 1890-1894. As well as being a missionary, Mary was a trained nurse and midwife and helped the local community. She is probably responsible for the large number of items in the Museum's collection which relate to women and children. In 1895 the Davidsons returned to Britain, where they toured the country lecturing at Quaker meetings about Chinese life and customs. During these lectures they would dress up and act out aspects of Chinese life, their 6 year old son Robin demonstrating the use of chopsticks, for example. A collection of Chinese objects was used to illustrate their lectures. While in Britain they visited The Horniman Museum and spoke with Frederick Horniman, himself a Quaker, who bought 338 items of their collection for £81.00. They returned to China in 1896 and spent about forty years there altogether. See Levell, N., The Translation of Objects: R and M Davidson and the Friend's Foreign Mission Association, China, 1890-1894. In Shelton, A., ed., (2001) Collectors: Individuals and Institutions. The Horniman Museum & Gardens. pp.129-162.

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

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