Are Wade figurines tea pets?
I’m a sucker for trinkets, toys, and tomfoolery — which means I now want a tea pet. In researching them, it seems like the Wade Figurines are based out of that tradition. Am I correct about this? Does anyone have any tea pets or more knowledge than its Wikipedia article has to offer?
I say anything can be a teapet if you want it to be
Yeah, there are no rules for what can or can’t be a teapet. A lot of the ones sold are made from “Yixing” clay, but any clay, glazed or otherwise, can be a teapet. Hell, it could be made of glass or metal. You might not be able to “raise” them in the same way (rough clays will develop a shine over time as you pour tea on them), but that’s not a big deal. Some glazed ceramic ones, however, will crackle and craze.
Although the sentiment’s nice, I think the question is whether or not wade figurines have any historical connection to yixing tea pets?
Looking it up myself, I couldn’t find any actual articles that drew that connection, or brought up any inspiration behind the figures. They weren’t created by Red Rose Tea though, but by Wade Ceramics (which has existed since the late 1800s, whereas wade figurines started coming out in the 1950s).
They were originally produced in 1954, in sets, and they didn’t gain their connection to tea until 1967 when they started packaging them free with Red Rose Tea in Canada. So they didn’t start with tea, which makes me think they weren’t based off of the tea pet tradition. They’re noted as apparently being intended as toys or “pocket pets” for children.
Interesting you bring these up. I’ve found plenty of them on EBay, so many in fact that when I search for Tea Pets, I add the search modifier -Wade to weed them out of search results. This reduces the list to only the Chinese clay tea pets.