Loading Spinner

Nippon Porcelain

Nippon is not a specific manufacturer of porcelain, but rather refers to ceramic objects stamped with the word Nippon on their bases. This began in 1891 as a result of the U.S. McKinley Tariff Act forbidding the import of items that weren't clearly marked in legible English words. Nippon is the English spelling of what Americans called Japan at the time. However, in 1921, the name was ruled Japanese in origin. From then on, U.S. Customs no longer accepted pottery stamped with Nippon, and imported china was instead stamped with Japan. Nippon-stamped porcelain is among the most desired collectibles on the antique market and is more highly valued than those marked Japan.

During the Nippon era, Japanese potters were trained to imitate European styles such as Limoges and R.S. Prussia. Created exclusively for selling to the United States, these pieces were elaborately hand painted in a style that was unappealing to the frugal Japanese tastes of the day. A wide range of items were produced including vases, punch bowls, butter tubs, and even dolls. These ornate pieces were less expensive than most European porcelain, and thus highly sought after by many porcelain collectors in the United States.

Keeping with the lavish nature of these pieces, gold was often used between 1891 and 1921. However, it was rarely durable and has worn off in most cases. Collectors should be wary of dealers who add gold paint to these items. Many pieces were painted in a moriage technique, which refers to clay relief decorations. Tapestry texture is also common on Nippon items and is similar to those found on Royal Bayreuth pieces.


Quick Facts

  • Many collectors of Nippon-era porcelain agree that the finest examples of hand painted porcelain were produced by the Noritake factory in Nagoya, Japan
  • In order to keep their decorating techniques a secret, the Noritake factory trained workers to master just one small part of the decorating process so that no one knew the whole process
  • The word "Nippon" was derived from a Chinese phrase meaning "the source of the sun"

Recommended Items at Auction

See all items

2 Nippon Vases
Dec 13, 9:00 AM EST
2 Nippon Vases
by Wehrly's Auction Service
Est: $0- $0
$22 Bids
IMPRESSIVE NIPPON MORIAGE URN VASE
Dec 14, 9:00 AM CST
IMPRESSIVE NIPPON MORIAGE URN VASE
by Jackson's International
Est: $50- $70
$401 Bid
Rare NIPPON Bottle Vase, marked on the bottom
Dec 10, 10:00 AM EST
Rare NIPPON Bottle Vase, marked on the bottom
by Washingtonian Auction
Est: $50- $100
$500 Bids
bp parity badge
Vintage Nippon Ceramic Scenery Jug
Dec 18, 10:00 AM EST
Vintage Nippon Ceramic Scenery Jug
by Lion and Unicorn
Est: $10- $200
$100 Bids
A Nippon Trinket Box
Dec 10, 1:00 PM EST
A Nippon Trinket Box
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $25- $250
$250 Bids
A Nippon Bowl
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
A Nippon Bowl
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $10- $100
$100 Bids
A Hand Painted Nippon Vase
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
A Hand Painted Nippon Vase
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $40- $400
$400 Bids
A Handpainted Nippon Vase - Bobbulus Form
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
A Handpainted Nippon Vase - Bobbulus Form
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $45- $450
$450 Bids
Set of 3 Nippon Japan Partial Teaset
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
Set of 3 Nippon Japan Partial Teaset
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $80- $800
$800 Bids
A Handpainted Nippon Vase
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
A Handpainted Nippon Vase
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $125- $1,250
$1250 Bids
A 2-Handle Nippon Bowl
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
A 2-Handle Nippon Bowl
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $125- $1,250
$1250 Bids
A Nippon Porcelain Two Handles Tray
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
A Nippon Porcelain Two Handles Tray
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $35- $350
$350 Bids
A Nippon Porcelain Bowl
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
A Nippon Porcelain Bowl
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $45- $450
$450 Bids
Nippon Dishes and a Bowl
Dec 10, 1:00 PM EST
Nippon Dishes and a Bowl
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $35- $350
$350 Bids
Nippon Scenic Cup
Dec 10, 1:00 PM EST
Nippon Scenic Cup
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $40- $400
$400 Bids
Set of 4 Nippon Nut dishes
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
Set of 4 Nippon Nut dishes
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $35- $350
$350 Bids
A Nippon Ceramic Bowl
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
A Nippon Ceramic Bowl
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $25- $250
$250 Bids
A Vintage Nippon Noritake Tray
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
A Vintage Nippon Noritake Tray
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $20- $200
$200 Bids
Antique Nipon Small Salt Dishes
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
Antique Nipon Small Salt Dishes
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $45- $450
$450 Bids
Nippon Hair Retriever
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
Nippon Hair Retriever
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $35- $350
$350 Bids
Nippon Two Handle Bowl
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
Nippon Two Handle Bowl
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $40- $400
$400 Bids
An Antique Nippon Cup with Lid and Spoon
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
An Antique Nippon Cup with Lid and Spoon
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $40- $400
$400 Bids
Set of 6 Nippon Salad Plates
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
Set of 6 Nippon Salad Plates
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $45- $450
$450 Bids
A Nippon Chocolate Pot
Dec 11, 1:00 PM EST
A Nippon Chocolate Pot
by Designer Homes of Central Florida
Est: $125- $1,250
$1250 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Nippon Porcelain


Designer Homes of Central Florida

Designer Homes of Central Florida

Burchard Galleries Inc

Burchard Galleries Inc

Jackson's International

Jackson's International

Wehrly's Auction Service

Wehrly's Auction Service