• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2091

    Important American Silver

    17 January 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 77

    A RARE MOKUME AND SILVER CUP AND SAUCER

    MARK OF TIFFANY & CO., NEW YORK, CIRCA 1878

    Price Realised  

    A RARE MOKUME AND SILVER CUP AND SAUCER
    MARK OF TIFFANY & CO., NEW YORK, CIRCA 1878
    The cup with all over mokume surface, with silver scroll handle and gilt interior, the circular saucer with conforming mokume decoration, each marked on reverse, also marked 5044/900, and with French import marks
    The saucer 3¾ in. diameter; 4 oz. 10 dwt. gross weight


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    The Japanese technique of mixing metal to imitate woodgrain, known as mokume, was fashioned by laminating, folding, cutting and hammering sheets of gold, silver and copper alloys. Tiffany's design director, Edward C. Moore owned several examples of Japanese mokume, (now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art) and his firm successfully mastered this difficult technique. However, examples of Tiffany's mokume as an all-over surface pattern are rare. It is more typically found as a selective decorative element, such as a small applied gourd or a butterfly (see lots 83 and 84). This cup and saucer, also with French import marks, relate to a tea service constructed of mokume panels and exhibited at the 1878 Paris Exposition. The service sold in these Rooms, 10 December 1998, lot 317. The matching tray, kettle and hot milk jug are illustrated in Frances Gruber Safford and Ruth Wilford Caccavale "Japanese Silver by Tiffany and Company in the Metropolitan Museum of Art", The Magazine Antiques, October 1987, fig. 10, p. 818. Another rare example of mokume holloware, a bowl, sold in these Rooms, 19 January 1990, lot 69.