No, I did not actually drink my Vietnamese Nine Dragons Oolong from the Japanese tea cup this morning. Rakkasan finally got some tea in that I have been waiting for (Covid has disrupted a lot of supply chains as we all know) and I was exited to have Nine Dragons this morning. It made me think of Grandma’s tea cup in my china cabinet–one of the many things about which I am attempting to learn more.
Moriage refers to the type of porcelain decoration–the raised slip decorations. Dragonware is the design with dragons, the scales and tendrils are raised and the finish is not glazed, giving it a matte appearance. The bottom of the cup and saucer only indicate “Made in Japan.” Searches turn up a variety of the design color, although the style is always the same. Generally gray and white, the dragons are usually shown in white tendrils and scales with pastel colors for the eyes and small details. In researching Japanese porcelain markings, I learned that the period after 1941 is when the mark MADE IN JAPAN began to be used. Made in Occupied Japan was also used after the end of World War II. This piece is likely post WWII since it has the design on only one side of the cup and saucer (see top photograph for better detail), with some gold enamel trim.
I have found a number of items among Grandma’s scrapbook and things she kept that were souvenirs her sons brought her from China, India, Japan, and Germany. Uncle Glen served in Occupied Japan and my best guess is he brought the small cup to her. I remember standing and staring at it in her china cabinet, fascinated by the detail. Now that the cold of winter seems to be setting in, I hope to devote more time to going through the two large boxes that are in addition to the things already placed or displayed, what still needs to be documented as best I can, and what is ready to be passed on to the nieces.