Q: My blue and white plate looks like early Canton ware, but it’s marked “Made in China” in red on the back. Does that help tell when it was made?
A: Dishes made for export in or near Canton, China, are well-known collectibles. The earliest pieces were made in the 18th century. They were decorated with a drawing of a scene that included trees, a pagoda, a lake and other Chinese figures. They have a “spear and dart” border. This design is still being made. The dishes were exported for many years, stopping only during the Opium Wars of 1840-1860. Your plate was made after 1921, the year the name of the country of origin was first required on dishes shipped into the United States. Red seems to have been the color most often used for the mark.