Basketwork Cups

A grid image. At the top are two small images of the inside of a cup. Each has a geisha's face. Under there is an image of the sides of the cups where basketwork is visible. It is sitting on a wooden table with a glass lamp behind.
Basketwork cups from the Eldon House collection

Country of Origin: Japan
Year: ca. 1890
Materials: Porcelain and Reed Basketwork 

These two pieces were manufactured for Japanese use, with the sides showing the heads of courtesans. “Basketwork” on porcelain developed after 1850 when extremely thin porcelain pieces (called “eggshell porcelain”) gained popularity. For many Western travellers, there was a push to purchase thin porcelain as a status symbol. To protect the pieces, they were often sold with a delicately woven bamboo cover for protection.