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.