Antique Nippon Hot Chocolate Pot and Matching Cups - Set of 4 - Handpainted circa 1911-1920
History is of the greatest interest when it has something of ourselves in it. Aimee Neff Alden
In 1890 when the McKinley Tariff Act was introduced, all dishware imported from Japan had to be identified as such. Instead of marking these pieces with the word Japan on the backstamp - Japanese makers and manufacturers chose the word Nippon, which means Land of the Rising Sun. Familiar throughout Japan's long and rich history, Nippon stemmed from the word Nihan, a common moniker used to describe the country during the 6th and 7th dynasties.
Many people today mostly associate the name Nippon with the famous dish brand Noritake, which was started by the Morimura Brothers in 1899. This is because the Morimura brothers purchased blank china from a number of different Japanese makers while they were fine-tuning their business in the decade before it officially launched as Noritake. In those early years of learning and growth, the Brothers exported their dishes like every other maker in their country - by carefully following the protocol of the Tariff Act and marking their wares Nippon. This universal format of china markings for export was standard procedure for all Japanese potteries between the years 1891-and 1921. What sets the Morimura Brothers apart during this vague phase of dish identification when everyone was including the word Nippon on their backstamps, was the additional information the Morimura Brothers included in their marks on their wares.
Adding additional decorative touches via backstamps, helped overseas buyers and collectors differentiate between a singular piece marked Nippon, which could have been made by anyone in Japan versus specific potteries who were developing individual brands and identities. The Morimura Brothers had several backstamps that they worked between, but during the years 1911-1921, they included a laurel wreath and an "M" in their backstamp along with the words Hand-Painted and Nippon (because of the tariff!) which is how we come to know that this exquisite chocolate pot was made by them sometime between the years of 1899 - 1921.
Even though these were the budding years that would eventually lead to a famous brand, the talented artistry and fine craftsmanship that became synonymous with Noritake dishware was evident from the start. Delicate, almost transparent porcelain, gold swags and hand-painted florals showcase the level of skill sought after by the Brothers. Classic, elegant and timeless in both beauty and purpose, this hot chocolate pot and its matching set of four cups and saucers has gracefully navigated 100 years of table service with style and aplomb.
While we can't trace its entire story throughout the past 100 years, we do know that once these pieces left Japan they migrated to America where they spent time in at least two U.S. states, Maryland, then Florida before coming to the shop in Nashville. We like to imagine they held court at many gatherings.... admired, enjoyed and indulged in only the best way possible... just as all beautiful things should be.
- Matching set includes 4 cups, 4 saucers and one chocolate pot with removable lid
- Made of delicate porcelain
- Colors include: pink, green, light blue, gold and bright white
- Marked on the bottom of the cups and chocolate pot with the Morimura Brothers logo used between 1911-1921
In beautiful antique condition. There are no chips or cracks on any of the pieces, except for one very light hairline crack on one of the cups and one very thin, very small flake-like chip on the rim of another cup. Both of these flaws are very minor and difficult to detect, even with a camera! Please see photos - the last two depict the flaws. Otherwise, this set is in gorgeous condition.
The chocolate pot measures 9.25" inches in height (base to top of lid) x 7" inches width (spout to handle) x 5.5" inches (diameter at base)
Each cup measures 2.75" inches (height) x 2.75" inches (diameter)
Each saucer measures 5" inches (diameter)
Although originally intended for hot chocolate, this set also makes for lovely presentation in the service of tea, coffee, spiced cider and warm spirits like mulled wine and buttered rum.