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Bamboo Basketry from BurmaIn storage
All over the world cultures have developed different ways of making cups for serving food and drink.
This cup from Burma is made using thin layers of bamboo decorated with black lacquer and incised decoration known as 'yun'.
Painted Porcelain from China
Porcelain is perhaps one of the materials most commonly associated with tea cups.
This example from China has a beehive-shaped insert, believed to make it function as a water dropper.
Tortoiseshell from JapanIn storage
A slightly more unusual material, but perfectly functional for drinking out of.
This small tortoise shell comes with a 'netsuke' (miniature sculpture) attached, in the shape of a frog.
Woven Cloves from IndonesiaIn storage
Cloves aren't the most practical material for a tea set, but this cup and its matching pieces were made to sell to tourists rather than for serving tea.
The set was made in the early 1800s, but still smells wonderful.
A Gourd from ColombiaIn storage
Wherever they are found, the natural shape of the gourd makes it perfect for all kinds of containers.
This one is made by the Embera people of South America.
Basketry from BeninIn storage
Another example of basketry, this West African cup is made from tightly-coiled plant fibres.
It came into our collections in the late 1800s.
Soapstone from IndiaIn storage
This soapstone cup has been carefully carved from one solid piece of stone.
Once part of the Imperial Institute (now the Commonwealth Institute) collection, it is originally from Chennai, the captial of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
Carved Wood from RussiaIn storage
Wood makes a surprisingly good material for drinking containers.
This example from Russia was carved in 1882 and was left to the Horniman collection in 1907 by a Captain Telfer.
Replica Brass from GreeceIn storage
This brass object is a replica of a gold cup found in a tomb at the ancient site of Vaphio, Greece.
The original is from the late Minoan period, and roughly 3500 years old.
Engraved Horn from England
Our last world cup was made a little closer to home.
This piece of horn has been hollowed out and carefully engraved with a classic English hunting scene.