Porcelain manufacturers used a variety of symbols, letters or images to denote their products.  Called backstamps, these markings may be found on the bottom of a vase, on the back of a plaque, or on the bottoms of utilitarian items such as bowls, plates, saucers or cups, etc.

There are approximately 359 Nippon back stamps known to date.  Most of these are documented in Joan Van Patten's The Collector's Encyclopedia of Nippon books.  Go to Nippon Publications for a complete listing of books available.


Maple Leaf Nippon

Maple Leaf Nippon; found in green, blue & magenta. Mark
was used by Morimura Gumi as early as 1891 and was used
until 1911.


M-in-Wreath, hand-painted ("M" stands for importer,
Morimura Bros.); found in green, blue, magenta & gold.
Mark used since 1911.




RC Nippon, in use since 1911; used primarily on utilitarian
items. The RC stands for either Royal China or Royal
The red and green RC mark is more commonly found.

Rising Sun Nippon. Used primarily on less-decorated
utilitarian wares. Mark used since 1911.

Spoke or spider Mark. Used primarily on less-decorated
utilitarian wares. Mark used since 1911.

Printed in green or maroon; in use since 1912.

Sometimes called the spider or Komura mark, it was used on
items being exported to England; in use since 1908. Printed in
green, blue, or maroon.

This backstamp for used for undecorated blanks, sold for use
by china painters. Printed in blue or pink. Used since 1911.

Many of the lesser known back stamps were used by companies whose histories are unknown.
While these lesser companies often produced fine wares, it is generally felt that the best
examples of Nippon-era hand painted porcelain will carry a back stamp used by the Noritake
Company. The exception to this is Coralene which to the best of our knowledge was never
produced by the Noritake Company.
A word of caution: Several of the Noritake backstamps have been used on reproductions. You
can no longer tell if it's a fake by looking just at the back stamp. See REPRODUCTIONS for
more information on how to identify a reproduction.

Royal Kiran, used in the early 1900's.  Found in blue.  Many Royal Kiran items with this mark are heavily decorated in gold and enamel beading.

Royal Hinode, used in the 1904 time period.  Royal Hinode pieces often have copious amounts of gold decoration.  INCC members can find article in Spring 2018 E-Journal for more information abot this backstamp.

Royal Kiran, used in the early 1900's.  Found in gold.

Found on items decorated with moriage (see Techniques).

Kiran, U.S. Patent, Japan.  Found on coralene items; used in the 1909-1911 timeframe.

Found on coralene items.

Found on items that collectors term as salt glaze, shark skin, orange peel or sand finish.  These items are rarely found.

Royal Kaga is primarily found on utilitarian wares with a Geisha girl or Japanese scenes.

Royal Satsuma is primarily found on utilitarian wares with Japanese scenes or designs..

The Royal Sometuke mark is found on blue and white "Howo" pattern dinnerware and utilitarian items.

Meito China or Crown mark, produced after 1908 by Nogoya Seito Sho Ltd which was founded by Kotero Asukai, a former Nortike employee.  Nippon items with the Meito mark tend to be less decorative than their Noritake counterparts.

Jonroth Studios, located in Peoria, Illinois, is an import company that was founded in 1909 by John H. Roth.  They contracted with companies in England, Germany, and Japan for pieces with the Jonroth Studio backstamp.

the backstamp of an English giftware company that imported pottery from Japan; they appear to be in business from the late teens to the early 1920's.  Items with this backstamp are considered art pottery.