Ivan Bilibin Medieval Russia Tea Cup and Saucer. Ivan Bilibin (1876-1942) was a Russian artist, illustrator and stage designer who took part in the Mir Iskusstva movement and contributed to the Ballets Russes. He was directly inspired by Slavic folklore. Bilibin gained renown in 1899, when he released his singular illustrations for a series of Russian fairy tale books.
This elegant cup and saucer hearkens back to the medieval Tsarist era. The illustrations are from The Tale of Tsar Saltan (see below). The cup and saucer is made of fine bone china and is liberally decorated with 22 KT gold and a polychrome transfer of Tsar Dadon's Army marching around the perimeter of the cup. The shape is as unique as the design, which is credited on the back of the saucer to V. G. Bogdanov. Recent Imperial Porcelain production with the current backstamp. Cup is 2¼" tall and saucer is 5¼" diameter. (Note: we have only four of these.)
The Tale of The Golden Cockerel. The story starts in the realm of Tsar Dadon, who once was a fierce warrior. But he eventually grew to desire the quiet life. Unfortunately this was not possible, as marauders continually raided his commonwealth. The Tsar believed within his heart that the country was in danger from the Queen of Shemakha (Ottoman Empire). Imploring an astrologer to help him defend his kingdom, the clever magician placed a golden cockerel atop a weathercock which crowed whenever an enemy approached. The rooster proved to be a splendid defender but the foolish Tsar decided he should strike at Shemakha first. He sent his two inept sons to battle but they only ended up getting killed. The Tsar then decided to lead his army into battle, but upon meeting the beautiful and seductive Queen in her silken tent, became infatuated with her and fell in love. The Queen quickly engineered a marriage proposal from him, but at the wedding, the magician suddenly demanded the Queen's hand in marriage. The tale ends with the death of both the astrologer and the Tsar and the reader is left to ponder the moral of heartless royal ingratitude.