Tucked in amongst the tea accouterments are a few oddities worth mentioning. In an earlier post the illustrious "slops" pot was highlighted but here are a few more items sure to make you scratch your head.
This cute little cup is delicate, colorful and very feminine, but wait...it has TWO handles! Have you ever seen a teacup like that? Chances are no, not a tea cup. This is actually a soup cup and the two handles are held for sipping consommé or other clear broth soups. So it's not a teacup at all. Looks can be deceiving!
How about this one? Still looks like a teacup, even has one handle just like it should, but what's the bat wing doing in there? Well, this one is a mustache cup. Yes, you read that right. During Victorian times and into the Edwardian era these were offered to men with facial hair in an attempt to keep the mustache dry. As improvements in razors were made and beards fell out of fashion, so too did the mustache cup. One very amusing fact to point out is that these teacups for men were often so flowery and fancy. Not at all what you would except a man to use!
Hummm, coasters perhaps? That would be an excellent guess. These are called cup plates and they were used for a short period of time by hot tea drinkers in England and the Colonies. When tea was too hot to drink directly from the cup, a small amount was poured into the saucer, given a moment to cool, then drunk. But the bottom of the teacup could not be placed back in the saucer while this was happening and it was unthinkably poor manners to set a cup directly on the table so...the cup plate was created. Like the tea table needed one more item on it! Today these plates are quite collectable and often feature some kind of local historic motif on the surface.
This one is easy. A circa 1950-60s luncheon plate with matching punch/teacup, right? Well, yes but...
"Drink tea and make friends." Chinese Proverb