The first museum in the world specializing in and devoted to the collection, study and display of tea ware, the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware, a branch of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, was opened to the public on 27 January 1984. The core of the museum's collection was donated by the connoisseur Dr K.S. Lo (1910-1995) and comprises about 600 tea ware items and other related vessels dating from the Western Zhou (11th century BC-771 BC) to the twentieth century. Half of the collection is made up of porcelain tea ware, including tea bowls, teacups, teapots and ewers, while the other half features Yixing tea ware, sculptures and objects intended for a scholar's studio and dating from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) to the present day. In addition, a small number of Japanese and European pieces are on display to highlight the impact that Chinese tea ware had on developments in other countries.
In 1994, the K. S. Lo Foundation generously donated 25 Chinese ceramics and over 600 stone seals to the Urban Council in Hong Kong, and an extension to the Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware was constructed to house this valuable addition. Named the K. S. Lo Gallery, the new wing opened on 14 December 1995 and now showcases the finest items of the K. S. Lo Collection. The two-storey museum building also has a teahouse located on the ground floor, which serves Chinese tea and demonstrates the art of brewing. The upper floor gallery is home to a permanent display of the donated ceramics, which date from the Song to the Ming dynasties (960-1644) and include Ru, Ding, Guan, Jun and Ge wares from the five famous kilns of the Song dynasty (960-1279). Also exhibited are pieces produced at other celebrated kilns, such as Longquan and Cizhou, as well as Jingdezhen wares. The selection of seals comprises valuable works dating from the Ming dynasty to the twentieth century and includes works carved by famous Qing artists, such as the Eight Masters of Xiling, as well as several contemporary seal carvers from Guangdong. The tianhuang stone seal carved by Cheng Sui (1607-1692) of the late Ming and early Qing period is the most precious piece in the collection.
The Flagstaff House Museum of Tea Ware works together with the K. S. Lo Gallery to offer visitors a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the finest exhibits from the Dr. Lo's lifelong collection, and at the same time makes an important contribution to the promotion of Chinese tea culture.