Three-piece tête-a-tête tea set consisting of teapot, creamer and sugar, each piece three sided, the teapot with handle, finial and curved spout with overall embossed surface decoration of stylized leaf and berry design, the sides engraved with asymmetrical pattern of birds, butterflies and chrysanthemums, the border of applied "Japanese chain" design (a pattern of painted ovals and half flowers with scrolls); the creamer with similarly embossed handles and finial, with beak-shaped spout, same border pattern, the body likewise decorated with engraved chrysanthemums and insects; the sugar with three embossed handles of same motif, the body engraved with insects and chrysanthemums, same border pattern, all pieces with the engraved initials: "C.B.E." in the Japanese style

Tea Set

Tiffany & Company

About 1877

In the 1876, in an effort to reduce the power of the feudal lords known as samurai, the Japanese Meiji government banned the wearing of swords. This move, coupled with the government’s increasing support of mechanized production, had an adverse impact on metalworkers, many of whom made their living fashioning ornamental fittings for swords. Seeking new markets, Japanese silversmiths began producing fine wares for export.

Japanese metalwork, which had been shown to great acclaim at the Philadelphia Centennial International Exhibition of 1876, had a profound impact on the decorative arts of the United States, inspiring manufacturers such as Tiffany & Company to produce silver in the japonais style.