Posted 9 years ago
The designs on this extremely rare Kutani cup and saucer are from an old Japanese Fairy Tale - "A Mouse's Wedding". The cup and saucer are of very delicate porcelain and the design is hand painted with great detail.
Measurement: Saucer 4 3/4 inches Cup 2 1/2 tall
Both are in almost perfect condition - there is one small nick in the base of the cup on the bottom lip in the black and gold trim - which is not noticeable unless the cup is inverted.
I collected cups and saucers as a child and my mother and I found this one in an Antique shop in Georgia ... (this was in 1950's) and the owner of the shop had no idea about the subject matter.
I have included illustrations from a 1911 reprint of the original fairy tale that was published in 1885. The 1911 reprint was published by Hasegawa, T. (Takejiro). (I do not have the book, but have provided the reference for your review ...www.baxleystamps.com/litho/hasegawa/ft_6_mouse_c1911.shtml
Per a very good friend of mine who is from Tokyo, who speaks fluent Japanese, and who is also proficient in translating and writing Japanese Kanji ... the Kanji on the back stamp indicates that the cup and saucer were made in Takayama-Zo, which is a city in Gifu a Prefecture of Japan.
He also said that "The shape of the cup and the saucer has definitely Western influence. Traditional Japanese tea cups do not have handles nor saucers made with the same material. They can have lids made with the same material, though. So this design indicates that this cup and saucer was made for English tea".
He also said that "Kutani china was originated in Ishikawa prefecture in the early 19th century. Gifu is southeast of Ishikawa. Also that the cup and saucer were most likely made in the early 20th century and it was at least a 100 years old."
We both verified this using Wikipedia (in Japanese) and the web-site for the Nomi Kutani Ceramics Museum in Ishikawa, Japan.
A truly unusual cup and saucer - great conversation piece and an extraordinary addition to any collection. ADDITIONAL PHOTOS AVAILABLE BY REQUEST! Any additional information would be greatly appreciated.