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Nippon: Hand-painted porcelain at an affordable price

As recent auction results demonstrate, Nippon hand-painted porcelain is an affordable way to expand a collection or incorporate ornate Japanese design into home decor.
Nippon vase

Nippon (green wreath mark) two-handled vase, cobalt blue with ostrich scenic décor. No chips, cracks or repairs, 8 inches, $236. (All photos courtesy Woody Auction)

Nippon” is a term used to describe a wide range of porcelain wares produced in Japan from the late 19th century until about 1921.

In 1891 the United States implemented the McKinley Tariff Act, which required that all wares exported to the United States carry a marking indicating their country of origin. The Japanese chose to use “Nippon,” their name for Japan. In 1921 the import laws were revised and the words “Made in” had to be added to the markings. Japan was also required to replace the “Nippon�� with the English name “Japan” on all wares sent to the United States.

Many Japanese factories produced Nippon porcelain, much of it hand-painted with ornate floral or landscape decoration and heavy gold decoration, applied beading and slip-trailed designs referred to as moriage. Be aware that a number of Nippon markings have been reproduced and used on new porcelain wares.

The examples shown here were sold by Woody Auction ( of Douglass, Kansas. The firm’s next sale is a Pottery and Art Glass auction slated for November 21, 2015.

Source: “Antique Trader Antiques & Collectibles 2015 Price Guide,” edited by Eric Bradley.

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