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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

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NIPPON SCENIC LANDSCAPE PORCELAIN & MORIAGE VASE
Jun 23, 11:00 AM EDT
NIPPON SCENIC LANDSCAPE PORCELAIN & MORIAGE VASE
by White's Auctions
Est: $100- $200
$501 Bid
Porcelain Group of Hand Painted Nippon
Jun 22, 10:00 AM EDT
Porcelain Group of Hand Painted Nippon
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $100- $200
$200 Bids
Pr Nippon Plates, Cloisonne Vase & Metal Teapot
Jun 26, 10:00 AM EDT
Pr Nippon Plates, Cloisonne Vase & Metal Teapot
by Everard Auctions and Appraisals
Est: $150- $250
$900 Bids
Vtg Nippon Porcelain 2 Tier Serving Dish
Jul 10, 10:00 AM EDT
Vtg Nippon Porcelain 2 Tier Serving Dish
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $30- $60
$10 Bids
3 HAND PAINTED NIPPON HAT PIN HOLDERS & BOWL
Jun 23, 12:00 PM EDT
3 HAND PAINTED NIPPON HAT PIN HOLDERS & BOWL
by Charleston Estate Services Auctions & Appraisals
Est: $175- $225
$100 Bids
Five Hand Painted NIPPON Porcelain Bowls
Jun 22, 10:00 AM EDT
Five Hand Painted NIPPON Porcelain Bowls
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $100- $200
$250 Bids
Lot Of Hand Painted Nippon And Noritake
Jul 13, 11:00 AM EDT
Lot Of Hand Painted Nippon And Noritake
by Gulfcoast Coin and Jewelry
Est: $50- $100
$250 Bids
Vintage Nippon Saucers and Relish Dish Lot Of 9
Jul 13, 11:00 AM EDT
Vintage Nippon Saucers and Relish Dish Lot Of 9
by Gulfcoast Coin and Jewelry
Est: $250- $300
$250 Bids
Porcelain Decorative Object Assortment
Jun 23, 10:00 AM CDT
Porcelain Decorative Object Assortment
by Leonard Auction
Est: $300- $500
$1500 Bids
Hand painted Nippon, Chinese, and other
Jun 30, 12:00 PM EDT
Hand painted Nippon, Chinese, and other
by South Jersey Auction by Babington Auction Inc.
Est: $50- $100
$100 Bids
NIPPON MORIAGE 15" OWL VASE
Jun 23, 10:00 AM EDT
NIPPON MORIAGE 15" OWL VASE
by Dargate Auction Galleries
Est: $200- $300
$500 Bids
Vintage Nippon Hand Painted Porcelain Bowl
Jul 10, 10:00 AM EDT
Vintage Nippon Hand Painted Porcelain Bowl
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $40- $80
$10 Bids
Vintage Nippon Hand Painted Porcelain Floral Bowl
Jul 10, 10:00 AM EDT
Vintage Nippon Hand Painted Porcelain Floral Bowl
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $50- $100
$10 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Nippon Porcelain


The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.

The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.

Gulfcoast Coin and Jewelry

Gulfcoast Coin and Jewelry

Premier Auction Galleries

Premier Auction Galleries

Dargate Auction Galleries

Dargate Auction Galleries