Satsuma tea set with lithophanes
Satsuma is a Japanese porcelain, first produced in the early 17th century. It is characterized as having "a crackle glaze and overglaze polychrome enameling and gilding". Satsuma pieces are often adorned with images of ancient wise men or immortals - men who were of such greatness that they were unable to die. These immortals are viewed as images of good luck. This tea set has 5 immortals and a geisha. It consists of 6 plates, 5 cups, 6 saucers, sugar (with lid), creamer, and teapot. Each cup has a lithophane of a geisha. A lithophane is "porcelain impressed with figures which are made distinct by transmitted light". In other words, if you hold the cup up to the light, a geisha appears (almost like a black and white photo). See photos. The set is marked with a red "Made in Japan" mark. There is 1 cup missing, but otherwise in terrific condition. There are no chips or cracks, and only very minimal wear to the gilding.