Author: Aayushi Gupta

Aayushi Gupta is a Research Assistant on the Digital Lab, who coordinates content development for the project and contributes research on the Asian collections at MAA.

Benares or Bengal? Durga or Parvati? Paan Daan or a Trophy Necklace?

Two brass boxes at MAA with minimal information in the catalogue records raise many questions. What are they? Where are they from – Benares of Bengal? And who do they depict?

Aayushi Gupta

30 April 2024

At the Heart of the Jebena Bunna, the Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony

The Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony symbolises tradition and community, uniting people and generations across Ethiopia and its diaspora abroad. At its heart, is a simple vessel: the jebena.

Aayushi Gupta

22 August 2023

A Ceremonial Cup of Tea

This post suggests an alternative reading of the life of a woman who lived in Tibet, Sikkim, and Bhutan, analysing it as an encounter between two different tea drinking cultures.

Aayushi Gupta

20 June 2023

Tea and the Margaret Williamson Collection

MAA looks after at least 280 objects from Tibet and its surrounding Himalayan states, and 6,000 photographs donated by Margaret Williamson. But who was she and how did she acquire these objects?

Aayushi Gupta

25 April 2023

A sample of loose leaf ‘Russian tea’

A small sample of loose-leaf tea raises more questions than can be answered: is it Queen Mary tea or Russian? Was it produced in Britain, Russia, or as the catalogue record suggests, in Tibet?

Aayushi Gupta

21 March 2023

Brick Tea as a Form of Currency

In a previous blog post on this object, I pursued one of the clues found on its label to show that it was a product of the Russian brick tea trade in China. In this one, we look at how it functioned as currency.

Aayushi Gupta

20 December 2022

Russian Brick Tea Trade in Hankou, China

An encounter with a Russian monogram on a tea brick from China leads to a wider exploration of the industrial production of tea bricks by Russian factories in Hankou, and their transnational trade.

Aayushi Gupta

6 December 2022

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