Cups

"Cups of different styles may be used for different types of liquids or other foodstuffs (e.g. teacups and measuring cups), in different situations (e.g. at water stations or in ceremonies and rituals),or for decoration." Wikipedia


I'm not quite sure where I'm going to go with this one. So first of all let me explain why I decided to write about cups in the first place.


I'm pretty sure that I have mentioned that as part of my activities to drive away the fundamental boredom, or anxiety of life is to take photographs when I walk. When I began taking them I just shot whatever took my eye. Then came COVID and lockdown and I tried to interest my grandchildren - who I assumed were bored - in taking photos with their phones as well. And to make it more interesting I gave them - and myself - a topic to concentrate on each week. Lockdown ceased but I still walked and still took photographs, even though the children now had other things to do. However, as I am not very venturesome with my walks I was running out of ideas of what to take. I thought I had taken everything there was to take, which, of course, is not true. There is always something new. However I did have to work harder at it. So I sort of reinstated the custom of a topic per week, though this time, not just with the family, but also with a couple of friends. Also this time it's not just me setting the topics. We take it in turns in alphabetical order. Even those who don't take any pictures, probably look at the results - we share them online in various ways. In my case on my new Photos page, so if you want to follow my photos just check it out. Although you won't find them all there, just the current day's photos.


So far we have pictured clouds - that was difficult for me as it was an overcast week and I do not have any major vistas, but even so I managed. Then there were landscapes - also a bit of a challenge in my little world. Wildlife - that was fun as even though we do actually have a lot of wildlife around here they don't stand still so I ended up taking quite a few shots of little creatures. Then we had people - also tricky if you don't know the people in question especially for someone as shy as I who will not ask anyone if I can take their picture. What then? Flowers - surprisingly difficult because of the time of the year. There are actually very few flowers around. Abstract - well we all had fun with that one. Water - that too, though it's amazing how difficult that can be as well. I could have done with a bit of rain, although, of course, there was none that week except on the last day. Last week was insects - today is the last day. In spite of having half done this with Wildlife, it was actually much more difficult - because they are tiny, they hide and they don't stay still. Below are what I consider to be my best shots in each category - with apologies to the others who participated and whose photographs, I have, alas, not kept, even though many of them were far superior to mine. (Two people - I didn't want each grandson to think they were being ignored.)


And yes, you guessed it - courtesy of my younger son - next week it's cups. A lot of scope for creativity and imagination there. At least they don't move around and you can see them. Anyway as some of them are in the kitchen I thought I would do a post on cups.


It's one of those basic facts isn't it that the simplest things are the most used and most significant symbols and metaphors? Cups in all their forms are one of them. Take your mind away from tea cups - heavily symbolic and atmospheric in themselves and think of all those other manifestations of a cup - trophies, heraldic symbols, mythical cups and vessels - think the Holy Grail, cups used in religious ceremonies - well any kind of ceremony really. And I learnt something today that I had not really thought about. In Leonardo's fresco of The Last Supper there is no cup. And yet it is here that Jesus began the whole Eucharist/Communion thing of drinking the wine which is really his blood. According to one website I saw, initially Leonardo had indeed painted a cup in Jesus' hands, but when a friend, to whom he showed the painting, saw it and was raving about how beautiful the cup was and how it reflected Jesus' holiness, Leonardo painted it out because he thought that nothing should be taken away from Jesus himself. It sounds like a bit of a made-up story to me, but there is definitely no cup.

All things to bear in mind for next week's photo opportunity though.


But how about the more utilitarian uses of the cup? They are, of course, ancient, with the first form of cup being the hand, because the first form of drinking was water - followed not long after it seems to me, by some form of alcohol. Then natural objects such as sea shells and coconut shells were used, followed by very primitive hollowed out stones and pieces of wood.

With pottery the multiplication of forms and usage increased exponentially. They became decorative objects in themselves as well, and status symbols too.


Keeping to the utilitarian - cups, mugs, beakers, are made these days from every possible material including the dreaded disposable cup, which seems to, at last be being replaced with recyclable and/or reusable versions. Well some steps are being made.


I do actually have a few paper cups - which will probably never get used - and of which I feel a little ashamed. But at least they are paper and can be recycled. I also have plastic childproof cups which hopefully will get passed on to my niece and her new baby, or at least will go to a charity or a recycling bin. Personally I have never liked drinking out of paper or plastic. The liquid within just does not taste the same. Then there are tea cups fancy and otherwise, coffee cups and mugs, of glass and of china, measuring cups, egg cups, soup cups even.


One of my fellow photographers asked me do mugs count? Well I think they do. Anything that could remotely be called a cup I reckon - and that includes trophies - not that I have any. Does a cupcake count might be a better question? I don't think we should include glasses though. They are different, even though some cups - especially those double-walled coffee cups - are made of glass. An interesting choice anyway.

And here is my first offering. It's my very favourite cup that I used to keep at work for my coffee breaks. I bought it in a small local craft shop and so I am hoping that it was indeed made locally. The colours are lovely and when you hold it in your hand - well both hands as it encourages you to grasp it rather than hold - it has an eminently reassuring feel. It is a memory cup.


Now I shall go and rummage around and see what else I can find. I suspect my friend Craig will have many more opportunities as his wife is a collector of beautiful things, and I am sure has quantities of beautiful cups of every possible kind to choose from.


An interesting choice Dom.

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