Teacups are among the most common items found in Nyonya wares made from overglaze polychrome porcelain. This piece carries the reign mark “Xuantong nian zhi” with zero at the centre, suggesting that it could have been manufactured during the reign of Emperor Puyi who ruled from 1908 to 1911. It has everted gilt-edged scalloped rims. The central motif is a phoenix in flight. Its head and legs are painted in red and pink and it has a scaly green body with black details. This motif is painted against a bright yellow background, which is considered an auspicious colour by the Peranakan Chinese and is associated with festive occasions such as Chinese New Year. The teacup rim is decorated with symbols from the Eight auspicious Buddhist emblems such as the Lotus flower. These are set against a rose pink background. The colour symbolises happiness and longevity, youthfulness and innocence.

Late 19th-early 20th century
Kuala Lumpur, British Malaya
Gross measurement: H:5.3 x Dia:8.7 cm
Accession No.
Collection of
Peranakan Museum
Credit Line
Gift of Sunny Chan Hean Kee