Thinking Japanese Pottery Mark Maybe?

by Neil
(London, U.K)

Thinking Japanese Pottery Mark Maybe?

Thinking Japanese Pottery Mark Maybe?

Thinking Japanese Pottery Mark Maybe? Hello, can a minor sibling dispute possibly be resolved please? We found this plate in the loft measuring 6 1/4 inch x 6 1/2 inches. With a little research we believe it to Japanese.

I think it was made ‘yesterday’ my Sister Sarah begs to disagree. We found that one of the marked characters 時 to mean time in Japanese, that is all we could translate.

These markings seem to be a transfer and not written by hand. Not a good thing in the case for this being antique.

The pattern feels raised so surely this hints at its modern day making? There is a gold ringed edge to it and being sceptical again is this just cheap paint?

I am someone who enjoys using fine china if it is to be so ‘fine’. There is nothing more enjoyable than eating a cookie from a lovely plate.

My Sister wants to lock any valuables away with a key bringing them out only to clean. I am never trusted with the job in case I break them!

We were also wondering are the birds and flowers shown on the plate symbolic in Oriental culture. My bet is they are just pretty drawings made for the export market.

Hope we are not wasting anybodies time with our query. It is satisfying to know exactly what you own and not be ignorant to it. I am not putting it in the dishwasher just yet!

Yours Faithfully,



Comments for Thinking Japanese Pottery Mark Maybe?

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Japanese pottery
by: Sonora Red

Hi Neil, Japanese (and Chinese) marks are rather difficult to interpret the characters as they seem to have several different versions for the same word. I did, however, find similar marks in one of my books. It says “Kyoto” which is in Yashimoro province. So it is Kyoto ware. These wares were being made in the 19th century according to my book - Poche's "Porcelain Marks of the World" section on Japanese marks (check numbers 1985 and 1994 and you will find your marks there). I get the impression that you believe transferware is a relatively modern innovation. Actually transferware has been used since at least the early 1800s. Any more information than that I cannot give you. It may be worth your while to contact an expert in Japanese porcelain for a more definitive explanation. I don’t have enough knowledge to say whether your plate is antique or more modern 20th century export ware. I am not that knowledgeable about the value of Japanese porcelain, but even if it was antique, I couldn’t imagine it selling for all that much, as a pair of very nice antique export Kyoto vases can sell for $150 – $250 USD at auction. Only an expert (which I am not) could confirm the true value though. On balance, I would come down on your side, rather than your sister’s, as I wouldn’t be surprised if the value was under $30, even for an antique Kyoto plate. So use it and eat off it!!

Japanese Wares Made For Export
by: Peter (admin)

Hi Neil and brilliant friend to this site Sonora Red.

Me and SR did some research (Sonora found the Kyoto connection - so thanks to her! It was like looking for needle in a haystack as neither of us can read Japanese!).

Anyway, in the course of this research I did a few screenshots of our research where I was trying to use both Google and Bing translation tools to get an idea of what certain common words and phrases look like.

I have uploaded below the collage of screenshots I gathered in the course of looking & researching, so take a look and it may help people trying to read various Japanese kanji symbols common to porcelain and pottery marks from Nippon (Japan).

I used both Google and Bing translation tools because, as we all know, these tools are far from perfect, and I wanted to look at the discrepancies.

However, you can definitely see some similarities between them. Sometimes they are even the same!

I included Kyoto and Kutani (as the both begin with 'K' and are perhaps less known than others).

I included phrases like "produced in", "produced by", "produced", "make", "made", "made by", "created by", , "special", "special make", andalso "Japan (Nippon)".

So look out for these type of kanji symbols or characters on your wares.

Ok,, so here's a call out. If you have any knwledge in this area, please post.

If you want to post and also add photo's (our technology doesn't allow for comment posts to upload photos yet - working on it! So please send the photos to me at:-

(And..... please tell me which thread they are destined for as I have photos for valuations sent in everyday and I may mistake them for one of these and start demanding money off you - heaven forbid!).

Here's the screenshot collage of Japanese kanji symbols which you might see on Japanese wares from time to time:-

various japanese translations on porcelain marks

Appreciation of help offered.
by: Neil

Hello Senora Red & Peter,

Thank you to both of you for your extensive research into our plate markings.

Please excuse my ignorance, Senora, regarding the transfer decorating technique.

Kind regards.

pink rose cupband saucer
by: Anonymous

have grandmothers cup and saucers they have pink flower
print on them and blue chinese or japanese writing/ print on bottom of cup dont know where they are from

True meaning
by: Bryan

My mother has the same that her father had when he was traveling during the WW1, I happen to work with a Japanese chap who identified it as from were it was manufactured. So the bottom symbols indicate MIYAKO and the top symbols say TOUNO, he believes this is the town of Miyako in Japan.
Hope this helps as we are also trying to find the date of manufacture and know it is not 20th century.

Great Contribution Bryan!
by: Peter (admin)

Hi Bryan

Thanks for getting a Japanese speaker to translate.

I revisited this myself again as your comment prompted me to look again.

I found that the top word is Toen 陶(or also written Touno) - means 'pottery'.

When the two characters are written side by side, 陶都 some interpret this as simply meaning 'Pottery'.

If you separate out just the second word 都 - this can sometimes be interpreted as meaning 'city'. So it could say just 'pottery' or 'pottery city'

When I translated 'Miyako' I could only ever get the characters 宮古 - which don't look like what we see on the mark. So could you possibly ask your Japanese friend again please.

Best regards and thanks again.

Peter (admin)

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