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DIGEST | An Evening with The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Meeting Iris and Kristen

A few years ago, through our dear friends Carla and Jose from the FCCI, we had the pleasure of meeting Iris Moon, the associate curator for European Sculpture and Decorate Arts (ESDA) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We invited Iris together with Kristen Hudson, the department's senior administrator, to our tearoom and got to know one another over steepings of oolongs and pineapple linzers. It was love at first sight (at least for us), especially when we realized they are the team behind the towers of teapots at the British Galleries.

We enjoyed our meeting so much that Iris and Kristen invited our whole team for a private tour at the British Galleries a few months later. It is through their hospitality and deep knowledge we learned the value of a guided tour when admiring historical artifacts - context helps.

We've wanted to partner on an event together since our meeting in 2022, and Iris' new exhibition, titled Chinoiserie, Women, and the Porcelain Imaginary (schedule to debut in 2025) was our chance.

table set elena preparing

Serving up the Tea

This event was actually an exhibition teaser for members of ESDA's Friends group (supporters and donors). While Iris got everyone excited about British chinoiserie and porcelain's lasting impact on gendered social spaces, our task was to showcase delicious tea and share our experience as a tea purveyor in modern times.

No tea discussion can end without a flight of oolong on our watch. We brought three historical Taiwanese icons, Baozhong, Oriental Beauty and Iron Goddess for sampling. For extra fun, the teas were steeped in gin and whisky for cocktails, which is never a bad idea.

The group was curious and engaging about the making of Té. We even brough pineapple cakes for them to sample. Interestingly, the most memorable discussion we brought up was when we characterized our teas in traditional gendered attributes: namely we said we brought two girls and a boy for the tasting flight. The whole room was guessing which tea was a "she" and which is a "he" and there were active discussions on whether if the gendered descriptions were appropriate for today. Who knew, the idea of impersonating tea with feminine or masculine characteristics can be enticing and controversial at the same time.

Our deep appreciation for all the teams at the Met for putting together this very memorable (and extremely organized) event. It was a deep honor to take part in this wonderful gathering.

elena and iris
elena and iris
elena talking
table set bon apetite preparation
fred serving tea
elena explaining
elena explaning close up

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