One of the most important contributions of Noritake china was the development of Lusterware. This was a glazing technique using a bright, single color glaze (brown, blue, orange, green) covered in a thin metallic film. The result was a polychromatic, iridescent look that grace these peices of Japanese porcelain in a bright rainbow-like sheen. This technique became very popular with other manufacturers during the 20th century. The major importer being the U.S. This was a time after the depression and the beginning of the roaring 20’s and Art Nouveau was in vogue. In fact, many of the peices of Lusterware from the Noritake family of china is very Art Nouveau. Their biggest production being small peices of giftware that was offered in many U.S. Five & Dime stores. This is what makes it so collectible. Although not as popular as “Nippon” and other works by Noritake, some peices of Lusterware command high prices. But there are still great bargains to be found:
An “Art Deco” ashtray marked “Hand Painted, TWNO, Made in Japan” ca. 1921 – 1930 (from my collection).
Years 1921 – 1941
In the first part of this series I discussed “Nippon” and the years 1894 – 1921 and now moving further along in the production calendar for the Noritake company I will explain why they stopped putting “Nippon” as part of their backstamp.
This period of 1921 – 1941 is clearly set apart by two major events, a change in U. S. law and the beginning of World War II in 1941.
In 1921 American import laws changed to require the place of origin be marked on a product in English. Since “Nippon” was more a description of an island and a native word to that island, the word “Nippon” was no longer acceptable for imports and the new law. Backstamps after 1921 state “Japan” or “Made in Japan”. Thus, it is easier to identify the earlier peices of china by those marked with “Nippon” and later peices by those marked with “Made in Japan”.
Here is an interest mark where the “Hand Painted Nippon” is overstamped with “Made in Japan” ca. 1921 (from my collection)
Other Makers Marks you might see on Lusterware and a nice photo of a Lusterware cup and saucer (from my collection)
Collector’s can still find excellent purchases and colorful peices of lusterware and it is a wonderful subject of Japanese porcelain to collect at this time. I believe that Lusterware will increase in value over the next few years and be hard to collect without significant money to invest.
In my next post I will discuss the war years and peices marked “Made in Occupied Japan” so until then Happy Collecting and always remember the best is yet to come.