“Dragons in Compartments” cup & saucer, c.1800

This fine, lightweight porcelain cup & saucer set was made in Dresden, Germany in the late 18th century. It is hand decorated with polychrome enamels and gold highlights in the wonderfully stylized “Dragons in Compartments” pattern, also known as the “Bengal Tiger”, “Kylin” or “Bishop Sumner” pattern . At one point in its early life, someone sipping an expresso was so scared by the fierce dragons depicted on the sides that it was dropped and broke into 3 pieces. Gathering the broken shards and somehow finding the strength to face the fierce fire breathing monsters again, the brave soul brought the broken cup to a tinker, who was able to restore it, using metal staples. The intact saucer measures 4-1/2″ in diameter and I would have much preferred if it too were repaired with staples!

This li’l dragon seems to be smoking a stogie, which is actually a metal staple keeping him in one piece.

There are 8 tiny staples on the outside and one on the inside, once overpainted to mask the repair.

Cup measures 2″ in diameter and stands 2″ high.

Isn’t this the cutest, non-threatening dragon you have ever seen? To me it looks more like a super-hero kitten sporting a purple cape with green fringe.

Both the cup and saucer are mark on the bottom in blue “Made at Dresden”.


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5 Responses to ““Dragons in Compartments” cup & saucer, c.1800”

  1. Moni says:

    It’s wonderful design. If only it could talk!

  2. diane says:

    any thoughts or links as to how these mends were made by the tinker? holes drilled, how was the cup held for the repair, etc. Thank you.

  3. please check out an earlier entry I posted “How did they do that?”, which explains the delicate process: http://andrewbaseman.com/blog/?p=1818

  4. Moni says:

    Thanks Andrew for linking the post above, fascinating! These things can never be replaced and tell a story that is so important. Also important to get the word out there, so people don’t misunderstand the conventions of these kinds of repaired treasures!

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