Chinese Teapot - stolen from Summer Palace
Need a little help
I bought a teapot with two cups and saucers a few years ago on Ebay. I could tell by the pictures they were really nice pieces. So did some others as I was outbid for one cup & saucer. But what really intrigued me was a note found inside the teapot. And that is what I am asking for the help with.
There is a scan. The note, from the best I can make out, says “This teapot came from Peking. Took – from one of the Palaces, during the Boxer ??umble 1900. ?. Stubbins – Stubbins – Stebbins??? I am guessing, 'Boxer rumble.' Any help deciphering this would be helpful as well.
The note is definitely old. I believe it to be 100% genuine and factual. But I'd just like to be able to confirm the note. One way I think it might be done is to some how find out if a person by this name was indeed in China at that time. I would guess they are of British decent and probably was a soldier. These are only guesses though.
But soldier or not, there must be some sort of record somewhere that I can trace the name to? Any ideas? Anyone recognize the name? I have a book on the Boxer Rebellion which at the time of the riots was called an uprising by the British. In my book as well as other places it is widely accepted that the summer palaces were indeed sacked and a lot of treasures were taken and brought to the west. I believe my teapot was one of those booties.
Which means these pieces are indeed Imperial in the sense they were obviously made for someone of wealth, most likely to be used by the people working in the palaces. They have a dragon and phoenix as well as beautifully written six character marks in line with their designs. The potting and all decorations are of the highest quality. But the marks are written in over-glazed red rather than under-glazed blue.
Some other questions I would also like to answer are why were the marks specifically written in red? Are there blue marked items anywhere? Is this pattern a known patter for a specific rank at the palace? Who used them? How rare are they?
I really want to use the internet to start creating a more factual and usable 'database' of Chinese porcelain. It would help everyone in the hobby to know if something you have is truly unique. And if it is, why? I'm sure there is still a lot to learn about the vast varieties and production figures just for the palaces alone.
I am not even thinking about trying to tackle the rest of the domestic porcelain market in China. But with something with such meticulously kept records, you'd think there would be more concrete information. But what few records we do have, the facts are often wrong or inconclusive. It's quite annoying.
So sticking to the subject for now, if you can help in any way with this, please let me know! It will be greatly appreciated!