Sunderland Ware Masonic Mugs with Dragon Handles



The cups shown here were used for both water and ale.  The black transfers were made from an engraved copper plate which was inked.  Then a tissue paper transfer print was made and applied to the cups.  It was then fired for a second time. Sometimes a "bat" print was used.  This was a stretchable piece of gum-like materials that transferred the engraved image to the cup or pitcher. Sometimes they were done over the glaze and sometimes under the glaze. The reason that many transfers are in such good condition, after circa 200 years, is that they won't wear off because they are under the glaze.

These cups still have their original dragon handles (many get broken over time).  These cups depict the Star of David of Shield of David (Two opposing equilateral triangles) with the Letter "G".

There are many ideas about the symbolic meaning of the Star of David. Some Kabbalists thought that the six points represented God's absolute rule over the universe in all six directions: north, south, east, west, up and down. They also believed that the triangles represented humanity’s dual nature – good and evil – and that the star could be used as protection against evil spirits.

The structure of the star, with two overlapping triangles, has also been thought to represent the relationship between God and the Jewish people. The star that points up symbolizes God and the star that points down represents us here on earth. Yet others have noticed that there are twelve sides on the triangle, perhaps representing the Twelve Tribes.

The symbol’s association with King David comes mostly from Jewish legend. For instance, there is a midrash which says that when David was a teen he fought the enemy King Nimrod. David's shield was composed of two interlocking triangles attached to the back of a round shield and at one point the battle became so intense that that the two triangles were fused together. David won the battle and the two triangles were henceforth known as the Shield of David. This story, of course, is just one of many!

On the other cup what looks be an isosceles triangle (should be an equilateral triangle) with the words, "Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty" with the radiating sun behind it!  In Masonry we know these to be the three lesser lights!

Threes appear prominently in the lecture of the winding stairs as we are shown the first three steps.  They remind Fellowcrafts of the three degrees of Masonry and the three principal officers of the Worshipful Master, Senior, and Junior Wardens. We learn that a Lodge is not singular. A Lodge is not dual. It is plural with a minimum of three.

Sunderland Lustre ware is becoming more and more scarce while its popularity continues to grow among collectors.





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