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Anamorphic cup makes teatime into something new

Looking for a way to make over your morning coffee? These cups, steeped in a rich artistic history that dates back to the 1600s, put a fun new twist on your morning cuppa.

Anything but ordinary. Wings Trading Co.

Anamorphosis refers to a distorted image that only appears normal when reflected from a special device--generally a cylinder with a highly reflective surface placed the in the center of a painting lying face up. This visual play, popular in 18th century Europe, has been modernized in the Anamorphic Cup, created by American-born designer Ross McBride, now living in Tokyo.

The cup is stainless steel with a polished mirror finish. Its porcelain saucer is printed with a distorted image. Separately, the cup and saucer are ordinary--an unlikely match, even. But put them together, and that indecipherable graphic is suddenly reflected in the surface of the cup to reveal a word--coffee, tea, his, hers, and so on.

The cups are great conversation pieces--but a little hard to track down in the States. You can, however, find them abroad, or contact the manufacturer directly for a special order.