I came across these very old Paintings of Russians drinking tea (chai) and I wanted to share them. This first photo is from 1889.
I would love to own one of these older Samovars. See the glasses on the bowls. She is pouring the hot water into the glasses with a strong steep of tea. The concentrate of tea is in a small pot that fits on top of the Samovar.
“Of all beverages, tea alone has the proverbial power to relieve toska, the sadness and melancholy which traditionally burden the Russian spirit. The samovar which dispenses it is a time-honoured symbol of Russian hospitality. It stands for the hearth, the warmth of a Russian welcome, the restorative powers of a glass of tea around the stove after hours in sub-zero temperatures. The word means ‘self-boiler’ and the samovar is just that, a portable water heater made traditionally of brass and fuelled with pine cones or charcoal. On top of it rests a teapot containing a powerful infusion. To pour a glass of tea, a little of this concentrate is diluted with boiling water from the urn. This way it is always fresh never stewed.”
After serving the tea the guests will pour the tea out of their glasses into their bowls and sip the tea from the bowl. This is how I remember drinking tea with my grandparents and relatives growing up. We had tea glasses and bowls. Here’s another quote from The Food and Cooking of Russia by Leslie Chamberlain.
“Sadly, the modern Samovar is a plug-in electrical device distinquished by its mass production shoddiness and the fact that no one wants to buy it. It is perhaps a fitting epitaph on the death of a culture. In the nineteenth century the samovar and the tea glass holder, found in daily use in the lowliest and the richest households, inspired some of the finest secular silverwork ever produced in Russia.” This is one of my Samovars that is an electric one, modern and mostly made for the tourist trade. They are pretty to have around but not the older genuine article. Here are the tea glass holders spoken of in the quote, podstakanik.
In this painting again they are drinking tea from the bowl. Statistically the Russians are among the world’s top three tea-drinking nations (with Britain and Japan).
Can you see the Teapots on the table that look similar to mine above? I was excited to see this.
Now the next photograph is a group of modern Russians getting the samovar ready at my brother’s reception to celebrate his marriage.
My nephew Joe, my brother Tim, my husband, my BIL Steve, and my son Daniel. A couple of these guys aren’t Russian by blood but they have embraced part of our culture anyway.
They had to stoke it up outside because it was causing some problems and not wanting to light.
For more posts on the Pouring Teapot hop over to LaTeaDah’s.
Photobucket is holding all my photos from 2007-2015 hostage and they have blacked them all out. I’m slowly working at restoring my posts without their help. Such a tiresome bother!