ssssStem cup is the same as stem bowl that the upper part is bowl-shaped together with a long handle below. It flourished in Yuan dynasty. But concerning the exact period when such products were invented, there was no fixed answer. According to Chendefu, stem bowl, which could not be seen before Yuan dynasty, was affected by Mongolian culture in characteristics belonged to that period of time.
ssssIn Ming and Qing dynasty, the production of stem cup was handed down from one generation to another. According to Wang Liying's book, there was no stem bowl before Yuan dynasty, but there were words of "stem bowl" printed in the center of the bowl which was short. But in Yuan dynasty, stem bowls were easily seen and decorated by red and egg white glaze.
ssssBut in Tieyuan's Acient Ceramics of Folk Kiln, stem cups of Tang, Song and Jin dynasty were displayed one by one. In addition, while visiting Jingdezhen ceramic history museum, I found that shadowy blue stem cups were displayed as products of Song dynasty. Before such visit, I once saw a shadowy blue stem cup which was similar to that made in Jingdezhen. According to this, stem cups have already existed in Tang and Song dynasty.
ssssNext, the production period, duration and characteristics of stem cups will be explained as follow:


celadon stem cup, 9.8 centimeter in height

stem cup with dragon design in underglaze red of Yuan dynasty,

fragmentary stem cup in underglaze blue,

stem cup of Qing dynasty, 6.5 centimeter in height

ssss1. celadon stem cup (picture one): 9.8 cm in height. The rim of its mouth curls outwards and the middle part is convergent. Its handle was thin and straight, the bottom shaped like the feet of a horse. The glaze of its ektexine broke off while the folded area appeared a little glaze. Inside the cup, thin dark green and yellow glaze could easily be seen. Such stem cup looked weighty and clumsy.
ssssDuring the period of three kingdoms, the production of ceramics in south China flourished because of its advantageous location and social condition. At that time, Xun yang town was the largest market for ceramic trade. Nowadays, we can still find various ceramic fragments with gray body, dark yellow and dark green glaze in this site. In the past, these products were not paid much attention to while used as plates for cocks. The stem cup showed in this picture was just found in one's home. It was in accordance with those remained in this site in body, glaze and technique. According to this, it was fired in Luohu kiln of Feng city, which was said to be one of the kilns with the longest firing duration. Moreover, it had the characteristics of the ceramics in Sui dynasty. As a result, this one would be the first stem cup exists now.
ssss2. stem cup with dragon design in underglaze red of Yuan dynasty (picture two). It is 10.9 centimeter in height with an outward mouth and a broad midst. Regarding the handle, the inner part was hollow while the outer part carved with three bamboo joints. The body was white and the glaze was smooth. In general, the whole cup was painted three kinds of veins with copper red pigments. The first part, a dragon was painted outside the bowl. The dragon had slender shape, a small head, a pig-liked mouth and a thin neck. His hair waved backwards and the squama shaped like diagonal panes. Between its head and tail, flame veins were decorated. The second part, grass veins were drew inside the mouth of the bowl. The third part was at the bottom of the bowl, it was decorated with chrysanthemum design in underglaze red.
ssssThe cup manifested the color of dark red and light red. Inside the cup, there were some regular bubbles that penetrated the glaze.


stem cup with scroll design in underglaze blue

stem cup in raspberry decoration with liquid gold, 7.5 centimeter in height

modeled stem cup with design of three fish in underglaze red, 8.2 centimeter in height

ssss3. What showed in picture three was a fragmentary stem cup in underglaze blue which was 10.5 centimeter in height. The body was thin, delicate and the glaze was mixed with white and slight yellow.
ssssConcerning the connection of the bowl and the stem, there were two different way: one was commonly used in early products. That was to say the handle should be made hollow first, and then connected with the bowl. The second way is just the opposite.
ssss3. stem cup in underglaze blue of Ming dynasty (picture four). It was 6.5 centimeter in height with an outward mouth, a convergent midst and a bugle-shaped handle. The glaze manifested the color of blue and white. The bowl was decorated with designs of tower, people, branches and so on. Such stem cups were of various styles and occupied a large number. But they were quite different from those of Yuan dynasty in shape, veins and the connection of bowls and stems.
ssss4.stem cup of Qing dynasty. They were decorated with blue and white, doucai, eel, plum blossom, etc. The outward feet were similar to the bowls and they were connected bottom to bottom so that the handle was very short. In picture five, a stem cup with scroll design in underglaze blue was showed. It was from folk kiln of Jingdezhen. This cup was 6.7 centimeter in height with an outward mouth and a broad midst. The inner part of the feet was hollow but was fully glazed. The cup was decorated with Ruyi veins, scroll veins and Jiaoye veins.
ssss5.stem cups of Minguo and Contemporary age. The stem cups of Minguo all had thick feet, a big bowl together with an outward mouth.
ssssStem cups are beautiful and used as wine utensils. Nowadays they are still produced in Jingdezhen and were commonly used in South China. I once bought several stem cups as wine utensil and decoration. The cup showed in picture six was a new product made in Jingdezhen. It was 7.5 centimeter in height and had a white body. The glaze was smooth and colorful.
ssssThe ceramics have been modeled since early times. Picture seven shows a modeled stem cup with design of three fish in underglaze red. It was 8.2 centimeter in height and was printed "made in Xuande period of Ming dynasty" at the bottom. During the later period of 1980s, some modeled products made by small-sized workshop were inferior in quality so that collectors should be careful.