Japanese Lithophane Teacup & Saucer Circa 1900 – 1960

This exotic, dragon-embellished antique teacup has a beautiful secret inside – when held up to the light, a woman’s face magically appears in the bottom! She was discovered by a lucky treasure-hunter at a Queen B Estate Sale. This secret portrait is of a Geisha, a traditional Japanese entertainer/hostess whose skills include music, dance, traditional Japanese games and apparently, magical appearances.

Lithophane pictures are created by varying the thickness of plain, white porcelain to create a design that only shows when held up to a light source (as you might do when drinking from a teacup). Some German beer steins also have lithophanes in the bottom, and porcelain nightlights and lampshades are created with the same technique. The almost 3-D looking dragon on the outside of this cup was done with moriage, a type of slip clay decoration used for ceramics that gives a raised, dimensional look.

Queen B Organizing Lithophane Teacup

Japanese Lithophane cups went out of production in the early 1960s so if you want to find one, come visit our sales and hold some teacups (and beer steins) up to the light, you never know what treasures you might find!

Queen B Organizing Thursday Treasure

Thursday Treasures was started by our staff member, Jeanne. Each week she will be featuring items that have been found at our estate sales. If you would like to submit a treasure for Jeanne to feature in a future installment of “Thursday’s Treasures”, please follow the button below and send us an email! Please attach a few photos of your treasure in a beautiful setting as well as any details you have about your item such as manufacturer, use, age, region of origin. If you don’t know about the piece, that’s okay!  We still might be able to research it for you! Don’t forget to tell us what makes this item such a treasure to you!