Q: I was given this cup and saucer by a relative. I am looking for more information about it. My aunt thought that her grandpa gave it to her mom in the 1930s. It’s marked with a maple leaf and the words “Nippon” and “Hand Painted.”
A: Nippon porcelain was made in Japan from 1891 to 1921. After the McKinley Tariff Act was passed in 1891 all goods imported to the United States had to be marked with the country of origin. “Nippon,” the Japanese word for “Japan,” was used until 1921. The English word “Japan” was used after 1921, although a few firms continued to use the word “Nippon” on ceramics after as part of the company name. This maple leaf mark was used by Morimura Gumi, a company founded in 1876. It was used on pottery and porcelain exported to the United States from about 1891 to 1911. Morimura established Nippon Toki Gomei Kaisha (now Noritake) in January 1904.