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One of the most delightful aspects of hunting for vintage is the sweet element of surprise. Most of today’s decor is mass-produced with very little attention paid to the details that make a piece special and treasured by its owner. However, when you hunt for vintage, you will quickly find that surprising and treasured details abound. That is the case with this demitasse dragonware teacup.
The term “dragonware” refers to a specific type of Japanese porcelain with raised designs. These pieces are called “moriage,” meaning “raised enamels.” The overall effect of the raised designs of dragonware is one of cupcake frosting! Production of dragonware began in Japan in the late 19th century and continues today. Newer dragonware is often made for the souvenir market and is not as fine as its antique ancestors.
This particular dragonware teacup is a newer piece, likely dating from the middle of the 20th century. It is an attractive dragonware confection, but the true surprise is at the bottom of the teacup. When you hold the cup to the light, a lithophane image of a beautiful geisha appears.
The first time I saw a geisha lithophane piece, I was examining a sake set I had purchased for resale. Purely by chance, I held one of the sake cups to the light and caught a glimpse of a gorgeous woman in its depths. Perhaps this unexpected experience has cemented these simple lithophane pieces in a special place in my heart!
Do you find the lithophane detail charming? What delightful surprises or details have you found on vintage pieces? Tell me about it in the comment section below!
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