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Foreign Alphabets

Pottery & Porcelain Marks – Foreign Alphabets: Letters from foreign alphabets were used as marks since the 13th century, when Chinese potteries began making their pieces. Countries used their own alphabets, including Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Cyrillic (Russian) words, as marks on pottery and porcelain. Marks of pseudo-Chinese letters were popularized by the British in the 18th century at factories like Worcester. The potters wanted the buyers to think the ceramic was made in China where porcelain was first made.Russian porcelain was marked for the reigning czar. Each czar from Paul I to Nicholas II, and the Soviet regime, had a mark that included letters from the Cyrillic alphabet, usually below a crown, or a hammer and sickle combination. Some reigns had two marks. These marks are very hard to read if you are familar with the language. To confuse collectors more, the 19th-21st century marks are often exact copies of older ones, not new information.


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