Chinese Nanking mug, c.1790

What a mess this guy is! It looks like someone threw it out of a moving car. This humble porcelain mug with cobalt blue Nanking underglaze decoration began its life in pristine condition over 220 years ago in China and was most likely exported to North America or Europe.

Measures 5″ high with a 3-3/4″ diameter.

The original porcelain handle seems to have gone missing some time ago. The rim appears to have been nibbled at by a porcelain mouse.

Although this mug is riddled with numerous cracks and chips, it will make a splendid pencil holder.

All that holds the mug together now is a single tin strap, added by a tinsmith in the 19th century.

Bits of old fabric strips once sealed the cracks on the bottom. Looks to me like the linen used to wrap mummies.

This mug, clearly in much better condition than mine, still maintains its original handle. But I am sure my mug had a much more colorful life.

Photo courtesy of

Tags: , , ,

4 Responses to “Chinese Nanking mug, c.1790”

  1. BB says:

    Your imaginative description has captured my heart! I want to adpot this make do! He needs a home to keep him safe as he has gone through so much already: a nibbling porcelain mouse, mummy linen and it was thrown out of a moving car! A very endearing piece with a lot of history 🙂

  2. Dave says:

    Thrown from a carriage! Amazing! The amount of work done for a train wreck of a piece. It takes the cake!

  3. Victoria says:

    What a crack pot? Not you Andrew. This chap has certainly seen a bit of life. I have a few of his buddies in my collection, some visited by the same mouse but this chap just takes the biscuit. The perfect pencil pot, make up brush holder, artists brush pot, hairbrush holder, cutlery holder…….the list is endless. He would also look gorgeous amongst some blue & white delft, interspersed with some Georgian wine glasses. We like to insert a tupperware liner/kids drink beaker and then we can use similar pieces as a vase. The blue and white looks fabulous against the yellow of spring primroses! Thanks for sharing and getting the creative juices flowing.

  4. Jess says:

    I do so love how you always manage to show a similar (if not exact!) intact piece to compare to the make-do. Are they all in your collection?

Leave a Reply