I was thinking of putting these on Etsy, but they are not fancy enough (in a rustic, wabi-sabi way), probably not “vintage”, have no country of origin stamp, and not expensive enough. Still for sale on Ebay, though I can’t seem to get view 🙂
Yunomi cups are like the “coffee mugs” of Japan. They’re kind of lame for enjoying fine tea, but if you’re drinking some cheap tea and don’t want a fragile cup that will chip, this is what you use. The ones I’m selling are a little on the small size, so they are probably also a little on the old side, like 1980s.
I’m assuming they are from Japan. There’s a lot of ceramic stuff from Japan in the L.A. area that doesn’t have an “made in Japan” mark, because so many people went there for vacation. There was also a huge Japanese American community that went there, and a pretty big import business where the items were marked “Made in Japan” with a little gold sticker, and sold all over.
You can also find a surprising amount of stuff from Occupied Japan in Los Angeles. (This isn’t that.) The stuff from OJ isn’t really that nice, imnsho. It reminds me of cheap stuff from China from ten years ago, or other Asian countries around 30 to 40 years ago. I think it has only historic value, for the most part.
The later stuff, from the late 1950s through to the 80s, is much nicer.
Likewise, stuff from Korea and Taiwan, from the late 80s on, is also nice. I have to hold back from just buying these things, because they’re pretty well made, but have little market value, as far as I know. Do middle aged Chinese Americans want to pay $15 for an old Tatung rice bowl? Probably not. I bet many older folks have some pieces to sell.
Today, the latest stuff being produced in China is pretty good, but they’re facing competition from countries where they pay even lower wages. It’s globalization all over again… if it ever stopped.
This even happened in the US. I found this saucer, a Franciscan mark, but it was produced by Noritake in the early 1960s.
Gladding McBean was being consolidated, outsourced the production of consumer items to overseas producers, and focused their core business on B2B, servicing the government and industry, customers that weren’t ready to stop buying when the next sale came along.
Tell me we haven’t heard this story in the 1990s, when production was being shifted to China. American companies like Corning, GE, HP, and RCA sawed off their consumer parts and focused on B2B (and GE is also a bank of some kind). It’s the pattern. It’s happened, and continues to happen.
Down the street, the Gibson pottery is in operation. It’s not a pottery anymore, but an office and warehouse bringing stuff over from China, to be sold at discount department stores. It’s not horrible stuff. It’s not super expensive, but the glaze is decent, and it’s pretty strong. You can buy sets with plates and cups for $2 to $4 per piece.
One of these days, I’ll have to buy some Mikasa and do a side by side comparison of 1970s Mikasa with contemporary middle-range Gibson. I suspect they’ll be pretty close, in quality.