tea cups – old and new

tea cups – old and new

In this essay, we present pictures of tea cups acquired over the years.  Most of these were purchased many years ago in the mid and late 1980s.  Collecting tea cups is an inexpensive hobby as well as a low tech one.  Many of these cups have a simple beauty about them.

There is also a certain zen like quality to our amateur photography when we snap the shots without caring how they turn out.  What we mean is that we do not try to force the shots nor try too hard for success (or perfection) with them.  (Fault me if these do not excite you.  I took each of these pictures.)  As well, the i-phone camera does seem to introduce some distortion into some of the pictures (in some pics, the shapes of the cups are a bit distorted).  When I was taking still shots of scenery in national and state parks in the 1980s and 1990s using a Minolta and then a Canon camera with either Kodak or Fuji films, we did not see such distortions.

Let’s start with some very old style examples.  These 2 cups following were found in a thrift store in the 1980s.  Delicate and fragile, these are not used for tea drinking.


flower tea cup 2


We can see that the flower design continues on the other side of the cup.


flower tea cup


Now, the second “antique” cup.  Here is one side.


antique tea cup 2


Now, we see the reverse side with its design visible.  A sharper, crisper photo.


antique tea cup 3


Another close up view.


antique tea cup 4


Before presenting examples of other tea cups, we offer this image of both cups.


2 flower cups


Now, to a beautiful pair of cups made in Japan.  These were also “discovered” in a thrift store (St. Vincent de Paul to be exact) in the 1980s.  These cups have thicker walls than the antique cups above and can be used for a simple tea ceremony in the home.


artistic cups


Here, we show that the color is only on one side of each cup.


artistic cups 3


A pair of store bought (new), odd shaped cups.


black and white cups


More colorful cups.  Very beautiful.


mountain and tree cups


Another artistic pair of cups.  Beautiful, yet also functional.  The cobalt blue color reminds one of the Ming dynasty vases.


cobalt blue cups


Another shot with a different approach.  We do not know why we did this one.


cobalt blue cups stacked


This next olive colored item baffles us.  We are not sure if it is a small cup or a small bowl.  It might be used for sauces (and thus dipping or pouring) at the dinner table.


olive color cup


This next cup, found in a thrift store (you never know what you will find!), is unusual.  Even though at the angle I was shooting (squatting down somewhat) I may have shaken the camera slightly, one can see this painted design was made to give the impression of motion.


blue design cup


Let us see some roses!  Can you guess what type of store these were found in? (wink)  These seem not to be ceramic, but may be glass cups with a relatively thin wall.


2 rose tea cups


One more.  The colorful image is only on one side of the cup.


rose cup 3


Now, for the shots that were the most fun to take.  Do you approve?


green and yellow cups 7


Another fun shot.


green and yellow cups 2


A different perspective.


green and yellow cups


These four cups are fun to work with.  They are the most co-operative models!


green and yellow cups 3


Each with its own unique personality.


green and yellow cups 5


Another unique view.


green and yellow cups 4


And, to close this pictorial essay . . . .


green and yellow cups 6


Care to like this essay?  We did put some time and effort into it.



  1. Hello Larry, you have a nice collection there. They are all interesting, but the glass ones caught my eye the most. I do think my grandmother had similar. Thank you for joining in Tea Cup Tuesday!

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