Nippon is not a manufacturer’s name but a country of origin. Nippon sounds like “Neehon” in Japanese, “Land of the Rising Sun.” The word porcelain is a derivative from the Italian word, “porcellana”, meaning cowry shell. Hard paste is a true porcelain originating in China approximately 800 A.D.
Nippon vases have designs of landscapes, which encompass the entire circumference with less detail on the reverse side. The Meiji period (1868-1912) demonstrated the extensive use of gold. Moriage (MORE-EE-A-GAY) was used extensively from over two hundred years but predominately from 1891 through WWII. Moriage means to “pile up” and refers to applied clay relief decorations. Moriage designs may include border trimmings, lacy designs, floral motifs, birds, animals and landscapes.
There are three (3) basic methods for applying Moriage designs.
1. Hand Rolling and shaping, the clay is applied by hand, to the biscuit, in one or more layers.
2. A more conventional method, made us of tubing. Before the advent of rubber, bamboo tubing was used and filled with softened clay (slip) and was trailed onto the biscuit in much the same manner as one would decorate a cake. This method is called ‘slip trailing.’ Often the slip-trailed design has a series of raised ridges (e.g. slip trailed dragon).
3.’Hakeme’, another technique, the slip is reduced to a liquefied state, so that it may be manipulated with a brush.
Sprigging is the application of small molded relief decoration to the surface of a piece of porcelain and is made in separate molds. When used on Nippon decor is frequently referred to as “Nippon Wedgwood.” Beading is another type of decoration used on many Nippon pieces. It consists of a series of dots of clay slip, which were painted, in a number of colors, most popular were brown and gold.