Satsuma lithophane tea cup
delicate, vintage, porcelain piece.
Geisha coyly gazes through bottom’s intaglio.
Textured, intricate moriage, painted gold, showcases
heavily embellished Japanese figures and
enhances their depth and dimension.
Carefully hand-painted to add affect–
with fragile features colorfully outlined,
wearing elaborate costumes,
depicting tales of historical lore
or ardent lovers’ interludes.
Landscape scenes and encircling dragons
add mythic charm to the surface,
an allure rich with detailed art and beauty.

Satsuma teacup and plate

Lithophane of Geisha

Photos:  Google Images

Satsuma is a Japanese style of pottery noted for its intricate designs using Japanese figures, landscape scenes and sometimes dragons.  The designs can also feature a form of decoration called moriage which is a term used to describe raised enamel often painted with gold.  I own a tea cup of this pottery (exactly like the one in the photo) which I received as a gift.  It is over 100 years old and has the beautiful texture of moriage for which it is so well known.  And to my delight has a lithophane as shown here of a Geisha in the bottom of the cup.

My entry to dVerse Poets for the prompt of texture:

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  1. I love old things and to know the history of them brings them to life. Your words have certainly done just that.


    • I love old things too–I treasure this beautiful, delicate cup that my sister gifted me. I’m happy you enjoyed my description, Renee–thank you.


  2. A nice historical piece you have here.. great details and beauty of the tea cup.

    Thanks for sharing it.


    • I was hoping to convey the great amount of texture this little cup possesses–it is exquisite.

      Thank you for your comment, Heaven.


  3. Gayle, you couldn’t have picked better subject for the prompt. You even included intaglio and moriage. I was not familiar with moriage or Satsuma. Very delicate, elegant–like you. Thanks for linking this.

    How’s the back?


    • What a sweet comment for me, Victoria–thank you. My sister has a small collection of this beautiful pottery and gifted me with a piece one year. I had not heard of it before either–but I did a little research after I received it. I just love it–you can see why.

      The back is so much better. I still need to be a bit easy with it though. I so appreciated having my own personal nurse to consult with–your support meant a lot! For a few days there, I turned into quite a whine-y baby!


  4. what a fascinating cup…love the picture in the bottom…and the styling on the sides…what a treasure…really like your description of it as well…i learned some new words today as well…smiles.


    • It is a treasure for sure, Brian. I’m glad you enjoyed my description of this special little cup.

      And, really, I can’t believe I taught you some new words! Woohoo!


  5. i think you captured the elegance and cool surface of the cup very well with your words…thanks also for the historical background – very cool and a beautiful piece for sure..would love to feel it on my lips


  6. Great detail in the work…


  7. The language in this is so delectable, a sumptuous feast for the senses. Thank you.


  8. Fascinating to learn of this beautiful art form.


  9. A poem as dear and beautiful as the gift it describes. How wonderful to receive such a treasure …

    The photographs are quite lovely too.


    • I keep thinking that you did write about satsuma before … Lovely!


      • Thank you, Jamie, for the sweet comment. I’m surprised I found a photo of the exact same cup as mine–I did not have a personal picture of it.

        No, I haven’t written about Satsuma before but I did write about Raku–another pottery form of which I love and own a few pots. Maybe that’s what you were remembering.

        I hope your week is a good one!


  10. This was calculated to catch the unwary reader off-guard, I think. My kind of poetry – something to think about and something to take away from it. Wonderful.


  11. I remember my Mother had several tea sets like that. I had no idea what they were or called. So glad you were able to connect those dots for me. I love Japanese anything and everything. There is so much art in all they do.

    Of course, let me not forget how beautifully you described it in your poem. The photo is outstanding as well. Fantastic, Gayle.
    Hugs and Toodles,
    Izzy xoxo


    • How interesting that your Mother owned some of this exquisite art work. I love just about anything Asian myself. It really appeals to my senses.

      I’m happy you enjoyed the poem, Izzy. Thanks.

      (I miss Jaye–don’t you?)

      Gayle xoxo


  12. these things attract me a lot too, pottery and other utensils in which artististic craftsmen have poured their soul .

    there are some pottery pieces you will feel bad to use – they look so gorgeous that you will love to place them in showcase not dinner table.



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