These tea cups were made by the hands of a master artisan at the turn of the 20th century, about 120 years ago, yet they are stunningly modern works. Is it the geometric pattern that lends them such a timeless beauty and freshness? Well, take a closer look. The geometric patterns have such a warmth to them. This warmth comes through in the near-obsessive hand-painted lines, meticulously applied to the lower part of cup in a floral motif. The petal-like patterns and the zig-zagging pattern are very common; most of the time (including the era when this set was produced) were made by machine. At this time, printing techniques to create prints that looked hand painted with certain “irregularities” were developed and readily used. Only close observation and a honed-eye can detect the difference. This set of 10 tea cups were each meticulously hand-painted. It must have been near maddening to paint such thin lines from dawn to dusk. The result? An elegant balance of dancing, playful motions and sheer quiet beauty. While these are tea cups, I always urge others think outside of the box, elegantly break conventions and picture such works outside of their original context. Imagine presenting a scoop of sorbet of seasonal fruit in it, with a beautiful silver spoon and lacquer saucer to accompany them. Alternatively, use them to serve a small portion of consommé and your dinner guests will be met with the beautiful floral print that lies inside the cup with every scoop they take.