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.