Recognising the appeal they held for me my mother promised the sets to me and packed them, carefully wrapped, into a large box and told me she would keep them until I had a home of my own. I subsequently married a soldier and we didn't have our own home for several years, relying on the army to provide us with quarters. Through the years I occasionally thought about these beautiful sets and wondered what had happened to them. They were rediscovered when we cleared my parents' home. I was delighted to see them again.
Assuming you're right-handed this is the front of the tea pot - or is it a coffee pot?I did some research and discovered that this moulded artwork is called lithophane and is created in very thin translucent porcelain. It represents a three-dimensional image and is particularly effective when used in a window where the image changes throughout the day according to the sunlight.
Many historians believe that the first lithophanes were created in China during the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD) They were also produced throughout Europe from the 18th century through to the early 20th century.
I also discovered that by the end of 1930 all Japanese potteries started producing lithophanes on tea cups and sake cups. Bizarrely this resurgence was linked with the first emergence of tea bags. The popularity of lithophane continued after WWII during the Occupation of Japan (1945 – 1952) Many lithophane pieces were taken back to the USA by American troops. The production declined until it almost stopped in the 50s.
After our late lunch on Easter Sunday we drank coffee and tea from my favourite cups. My pieces have no backstamp, no signature, no identifying mark to note who made them. (Indeed, they may well have been produced in China!) The handles on the tea and coffee pots are quite 'heavy' and somewhat crude but it is not the pottery I love so much, apart from the cups and saucers, as the illustrations on it. I know they have little monetary value but for me they are priceless treasures to be loved and appreciated for their mystery and history and absolute loveliness.
Now this is a coffee pot . . . or is it for hot chocolate?
Thanks go to Denise Nesbitt and her team for organising and hosting this meme. What have other people chosen for their Ls this week? Click here to find out.