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Shopping for my Mother's Sixtieth

Shopping for my Mother's Sixtieth - Did you know that fine china is made from ground up bones?

I didn't. I learnt this today. I stood there, holding the delicate cup, and said, "So, like, when you drink from this, what you're really drinking from is the bones of the dead?"

"It's only animal bones," the shop assistant next to me said. She was in her fifties, early or mid, I couldn't tell, and had dyed red hair, and powdery white skin. When she spoke, she was unsure of what to say because, I assume, she wasn't able to figure if I found this concept insulting or intriguing. Was I more likely to drink from a cup made from bones or less? What kind of man did I seem like? A big bald guy in black jeans and a red t-shirt that says 'Download to Kill Pop Music'. More, or less? Evidently, I seemed like the latter: "It's not like it they were going to be used for anything important."

"Yet the cup is made from bones, yes?"

"Partly. It's fine china."

"Yeah," I continued, twisting it around in my hands--it was quite light and lovely-- "so when you drink from it, you are putting you coffee into a cup made from bones? From something built out of the dead?"

"I suppose I've never really thought of it that way."

"I think it's fantastic."

She hesitated, then said, "You do?"

"I'll have four."

Comments

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(Deleted comment)
benpeek
Mar. 19th, 2007 07:36 am (UTC)
but with psychopath bones you get the haunted cup of tea experience!
(Deleted comment)
benpeek
Mar. 19th, 2007 07:53 am (UTC)
but you could find yourself centred in your very own horror film. who would live, who would die... thin out those friends you don't need anymore!

:)
(Deleted comment)
benpeek
Mar. 19th, 2007 08:38 am (UTC)
i'm so glad you're not currently inviting me out for tea and scones :P
(Deleted comment)
benpeek
Mar. 19th, 2007 10:23 am (UTC)
we can dine with the dead!

:)
ironed_orchid
Mar. 19th, 2007 07:35 am (UTC)
So bone china is made from bones?

I actually did not know that!
benpeek
Mar. 19th, 2007 07:37 am (UTC)
yeah, i had no idea either. it's freaky when you think about it.
ironed_orchid
Mar. 19th, 2007 07:40 am (UTC)
I assumed it was a fine white clay. Maybe it's a combo of clay and powdered bones.
benpeek
Mar. 19th, 2007 07:46 am (UTC)
yeah, it's not all bone. the bone is mashed into the clay, or so i was told.
drjon
Mar. 19th, 2007 08:25 am (UTC)
Yes, that's why "bone china" is named as such.

Plus, the technique's from China, I believe.

(I had an ancestor who was rather famous in the trade.)
benpeek
Mar. 19th, 2007 08:31 am (UTC)
wikipedia says england, actually, but i would have thought china as well.
drjon
Mar. 19th, 2007 08:34 am (UTC)
i could be wrong--it's been a while since i researched it.
grimreaperess
Mar. 19th, 2007 07:46 am (UTC)
Teacups and death.

That could not get much cooler.
benpeek
Mar. 19th, 2007 07:49 am (UTC)
it's certainly made fine china seem more interesting to me. i hope she wasn't lying. i'm purposefully not looking it up for that reason.
grimreaperess
Mar. 19th, 2007 07:53 am (UTC)
Wikipedia tells me that the lady was telling the truth.

Wikipedia is never wrong.
benpeek
Mar. 19th, 2007 07:54 am (UTC)
i shall never question it anyway.
grimreaperess
Mar. 19th, 2007 07:58 am (UTC)
And that's how it should be.
catsparx
Mar. 19th, 2007 08:44 am (UTC)
jeezus TFC! I did not know that. And I have a real thing about fine white bone china -- I don't like drinking hot beverages out of anything else actually.
Makes me feel evil!
benpeek
Mar. 19th, 2007 08:45 am (UTC)
isn't it great?
catsparx
Mar. 19th, 2007 08:54 am (UTC)
yep!
mireille21
Mar. 19th, 2007 10:17 am (UTC)
Sure. That's why it's called fine bone china. Obvious, non?
mireille21
Mar. 19th, 2007 10:23 am (UTC)
PS. I'm not sure that it's still made that way, but like all fine inventions it had a purpose at the time. Like 'cat gut' strings for violins and guitars and things. Yep, made from animal gut until well into the 20th century, though not actually cats (most usually sheep.) I think the cat connotation came from a badly played violin sounding like a cat being strangled.
benpeek
Mar. 19th, 2007 10:25 am (UTC)
i just gave absolutely no thought to the fine china thing (i haven't heard people use bone in it for ages). what can i say? just never crossed my mind.
(Deleted comment)
benpeek
Mar. 19th, 2007 11:02 am (UTC)
i don't think you're fully getting behind the idea of drinking from a cup made from bones :)

(i don't drink coffee much these days)
tanuja
Mar. 19th, 2007 11:46 am (UTC)
As the old adage goes: You learn a new thing every day. I feel so ashamed, given how close I used to live to Stoke On Trent (home of many fine pottery companies).

As a good Hindu girl, I should probably avoid bone china because of the Ox bone, shouldn't I?
benpeek
Mar. 19th, 2007 08:21 pm (UTC)
don't a lot of hindi people have fine china?

anyhow, i fail to see how you could give up drinking from cups of bone. i mean, i certainly couldn't.
tanuja
Mar. 20th, 2007 03:11 am (UTC)
Hindu, hon, Hindu, Hindi is the language ;) Hindu is the religion and culture. Although, that does raise an interesting linguistic point, English is both the language and culture but not Hindi, I wonder why?

You're right, I can't give up drinking out of bone cups, tea never really tastes the same when it's drunk out of a huge great mug. Mind you, Aussie tea isn't the same as British tea, even if it's by the same company. Maybe it's not so much the vessel as the contents that makes the difference?

benpeek
Mar. 20th, 2007 04:47 am (UTC)
Hindu, hon, Hindu, Hindi is the language ;)

woops. chalk that up to a total brain fart on my part (i did know that, but for some reason i thought, hindi is plural. ah. all i can say is it's one of those moments of stupidity.)

as for tea... you're on your own. i've never been much of a fan.
underdogautopsy
Mar. 19th, 2007 12:43 pm (UTC)
I designate you as my daily inspirational reading. Every morning, between climbing out of the shower and waiting for my coffee to brew, this is precisely the sort of thing I need to be reading.
benpeek
Mar. 19th, 2007 08:19 pm (UTC)
i am but one of the many paths to enlightenment ;)
porphyre
Mar. 19th, 2007 06:55 pm (UTC)
I am a little baffled by the number of people replying who didn't know that bonechina comes from dead cos. Ah well. I'm more curious where you get such a good shirt.
benpeek
Mar. 19th, 2007 08:18 pm (UTC)
it is odd, isn't it? all i can say is that fine china is not something that comes up in my daily life, so i never had a reason to give it thought--i figure a lot of people are like that. (also, at least in my life, i can't remember the last time someone called it bone china.)

as for the shirt, i made it myself. there was a brief peroid of time when i felt like making t-shirts.
porphyre
Mar. 19th, 2007 08:29 pm (UTC)
I'm thinking it's a slogan I really really need on a black baby-doll, but written in red rhinestones.

Just like I need one like that which says I WIN AT THE INTERNET.
benpeek
Mar. 19th, 2007 08:40 pm (UTC)
if you want to make one, feel free. sounds cool :)
porphyre
Mar. 19th, 2007 08:42 pm (UTC)
Rock on.


Danke.
(Anonymous)
Mar. 19th, 2007 08:53 pm (UTC)
Doesn't surprise me that more folk are familiar with boning than with china.

---pm
benpeek
Mar. 19th, 2007 10:15 pm (UTC)
we're a one track bunch.
norda
Mar. 19th, 2007 09:53 pm (UTC)
I did know that, actually, and it's always given me a deliciously warm feeling.

It's been a tradition of ours to ask whether any guests would prefer not to drink from cups made of possible distant relatives... since we are all relatives, to some degree.
benpeek
Mar. 19th, 2007 10:15 pm (UTC)
how many say yes?
norda
Mar. 19th, 2007 10:42 pm (UTC)
More than one but less than five.

They usually don't get asked back for tea.
bodhichitta0
Mar. 20th, 2007 05:00 pm (UTC)
Sweetheart, I don't know what I am going to do with this new information, but I have no doubt it will come in handy. I thought the whole bone thing was figurative. I think I'm going to go lick a cup now.
benpeek
Mar. 21st, 2007 12:25 am (UTC)
i am here but to serve for all out evil purposes.
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