Saturday, 25 August 2012

Japanese Dragonware with Geisha Lithophane

My wandering through a local op shop caused me some joy when I spied a dragon coffee/ tea set that was similar to the one my sisters and I had as children to play with . I think my younger sister has it now. The teaset we had was of the wide brim variety and the thing that was most exciting about it was the geisha that could be viewed when held up to the light.
This is the set I found for a bargain price of $8. I actually didn't have $8 on me so the lady in the shop sold it to me for $6 (I did say I'd come back next week and pay when passing).

My set is a gold or gilt enamel dragonware set with 10 Coffee/tea cups, creamer, milk jug and coffee/ tea pot
Whilst standing in the shop I assume a collector whom the ladies recognized informed me that they were Japanese face cup. Now knowing the name of my purchase I decided to glean more information on these porcelain pieces.

This particular lithophane is the Quizzical Geisha
There are nine poses of the geisha in the original set. The geisha was apparently the artists wife 
A very good representation of the differing poses can be found here

The orange lines to the side of the dragon represent wisps of smoke.
Most dragons had three toes. Only the emperor could have a 5 toe dragon and if a commoner was found with anything greater than three toes they were executed. 4 toe dragons we allocated to the emperors commanders  and other important dignitaries.
Dragons represent fertility, human procreation , and warding away evil spirits in Japanese culture

I don't know how old this set is but I assume  it was a post WWII

1 comment:

  1. Hi, if you know anyone else looking for dragonware, could you please let me know? My grandmother’s auction starts in 4 hours at

    She loved dragonware and had your website bookmarked for inspiration/information.

    Thank You!


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