Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My Afternoon Coffee: Green Dragon Against Orange Background, With a Little Surprise

I had a little espresso pick-me-up this afternoon ('cause it was that kind of day), and I chose myself this particular cup, not like anything else in my collection. It's Japanese — that itself is not unique; I have a number of Japanese demitasses, and they're consistently among my favorites: exceedingly delicate, lovely colors, simple balanced designs — but this one's different: the vivid rough-brushed rust-orange backing and the vibrant, almost violent dragon, with its relief texturing.

And this particular demitasse has an extra little surprise. Voila!

Yep, a portrait — the former Empress of Japan, I'm informed — only visible when the bottom of the cup is held up to the light. I owned this demitasse for years and had absolutely no idea of its secret until Ms. Mary revealed it to me. Super cool, n'est-ce pas? (And the means of rendering the portrait is also super cool: it's not painted on or any such thing. The portrait is simply rendered in relief in the porcelain itself: dark areas — the hair for example — are thicker porcelain; light areas— the face, the background — are thin porcelain. So the light just shines through in various degrees, rendering hues of darkness and light. Portrait rendered, and with such subtlety. Awesome.)


  1. Kirsten in Chi-town8:56 AM

    really like this one! wunderbar! (to throw yet another culture into the mix!)

  2. That is so very cool! I love the color of that cup, too.