my name is mug
July 22, 2014 7:10 AM   Subscribe

Please help me identify these mugs, in the hopes of possibly acquiring more of them.

Once upon a time, many, many years ago, my mom gifted me a set of mugs. They are stoneware (not porcelain), look to be mold-made (not thrown), but appear to be hand-painted/glazed (Asian-style botanical motifs). There's no marking/logo on the bottom.

I've found mugs on etsy and ebay (one, two, three, four) that are similarly sized and shaped (different hand-painting/glazing/designs, though). I've asked the sellers if they have any info on the manufacturer — no luck. Mom doesn't remember where she got them, either.

- my set (one, two, three) there were 6 originally, one broke
- mold mark
- with ruler for scale (width, height)

- 3.5" tall x 3.25" diameter (excluding handle)
- they hold about 8 ounces (250 ml)

I'm hoping there's a MeFite out there who recognizes these mugs and can clue me in on who made/makes them.
posted by mon-ma-tron to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
I remember mugs a lot like yours being sold pretty much everywhere in the 70s, and into the 80s. Small potteries seemed to be opening up everywhere, especially in tourist areas, and they were all churning out that style of stoneware.

The other thing I remember is that pretty much all of those small-scale potters signed their work, or pressed some kind of mark into it. The lack of any such markings suggests to me that the mugs may well be cheap, mass-produced imports.
posted by pipeski at 7:34 AM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Otagiri stoneware (one example; another) was mass-produced, and was marked with a gold foil sticker.
posted by MonkeyToes at 8:09 AM on July 22, 2014

@pipeski: Oh, I'm certain they were mass-produced. They have none of the imperfections/character you get with hand-thrown stuff. They're all identical — that's all but impossible to do with hand-made stuff, especially the handles. Plus, you can see the mold marks on some of them. The glaze decorations are definitely hand-drawn, though.

I think Mom gave me these in the '90s.
posted by mon-ma-tron at 9:27 AM on July 22, 2014

They remind me a bit of Mexican Tonala pottery.
posted by umwhat at 9:34 AM on July 22, 2014

I think your best bet is to look in Goodwill and other vintage stores. Once styles change, mass producers move on. If there's a version of etsy for wanted items, you could try it, but it's kind of a needle in a haystack.
posted by theora55 at 12:24 PM on July 22, 2014

Replacements, Ltd. may be worth a shot. They have ID help - suggestions to try for yourself and a pattern ID service where you send them photos.
posted by momus_window at 1:10 PM on July 22, 2014

Agreeing with @pipeski. These were everywhere in the 70s and 80s. I'd call this 1970s rustic stoneware. It seemed super popular with the crunchy granola moms and next door neighbors I visited with in my suburban neighborhood back in those days. :)

Here's a google image search results for 1970s stoneware cups, although I don't see yours there off the bat.
posted by vivzan at 1:15 PM on July 22, 2014

Close? From Japan.
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:56 PM on July 22, 2014

I'm going to give the win to MonkeyToes. Searching for "Otagiri stoneware mug" got me the most similar results. Thank you, I now have a new ebay search hobby!

As an aside, I normally prefer handmade pottery. But I LOVE these little mugs precisely because they're mass-produced — they stack securely (because they're all exactly the same size/shape). Plus they're not too huge to fit in my small cabinets. They also don't weigh eleventy million pounds like a lot of stoneware. I probably wouldn't like them as much if the designs weren't hand-painted.

Marking this one resolved and adding the Otagiri tag to the list, for anyone's future reference. Thanks, everybody!
posted by mon-ma-tron at 3:11 PM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

Also, technically, I now have 2 new ebay search hobbies — thanks to umwhat's Tonala suggestion.
posted by mon-ma-tron at 3:22 PM on July 22, 2014

Otagiri on Pinterest.
posted by MonkeyToes at 3:30 PM on July 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

« Older Dimetrodons don't count.   |   Can you suggest what my husband's next job should... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.