This isn't The Godfather! But I have this horses head pottery mark...

by Burelena
(Yakima, Washington)

horses head pottery mark

horses head pottery mark

Hi everyone!

My name is Burelena and I live in central Washington. (No, we don't have lush greenery and it doesn't rain constantly. This is the desert.

Yes, Washington has deserts! Who knew?)

I came across this tea cup and saucer at an estate sale. I found it interesting because of the raised designs on the saucer and the side of the cup, as well as the cutout pattern around the rim of the saucer, so I picked it up.

Upon closer examination, I noticed the logo (I now know it's called a backstamp) on the bottom of the saucer and I found that interesting as well, so I decided to look it up to see what kind of porcelain it was. I'm pretty sure it's not actual china because it's not very translucent.

That's where the trouble started ...

I've been all over Google, Kovels, and various other sites (most of which I found here - thanks!) but I absolutely cannot find this backstamp anywhere! I've searched through your questions and unidentified marks posts and can't find it there either.

I don't know if putting in the wrong combination of words to describe it or if this is the one and only piece of porcelain with this particular mark (and wouldn't THAT be nice, because my financial future would be rosy indeed!), but I simply can't identify it! It's been VERY frustrating!

As far as I can
tell, the backstamp mark features a horse's head with a plume or feather on it (and yes, it took me a while to see THAT, because I spent a couple days wondering why this poor horse had some kind of flower growing out of its head!) inside a circle with an X in it.

Or perhaps the circle with the X is some kind of crest. I really have no idea. Hence my trolling of your site and my plea to all of you for some HELP! 🙃

I had originally planned to sell this piece once I found out more about it (I have space at a local antique store) but now the horse and I have kind of bonded because we've spent so much time together recently, so he will probably become a permanent fixture at my house.

Thanks so much in advance for any help you can give me with identifying this piece. I appreciate it!


Burelena & Maurice the horse

(WHAT?! I can't spend this much time with an animal and not give the poor guy a name! Who does that?!) 😁


Reply by Peter (admin)

Hi Burelena

You're crazy! And we like crazy. Lovely submission, thanks for reaching out.

I don't know this one. I could find nothing either.

So, all you horse head mark owners, please come forward, you know who you are!

Let's do this! (for Maurice's sake!)

Best regards


Comments for This isn't The Godfather! But I have this horses head pottery mark...

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by: Burelena

Wow! That was not what I was expecting at all! (Not the crazy part. I am well aware then I'm crazy! 😉) I really was not expecting you not to know what the mark meant. I had anticipated posting my query and having 10 different people say, "Oh that's so-and-so brand. You don't know much about china or porcelain do you?" To which I would, of course, reply, "I know absolutely nothing! Except that the cup and saucer are neat-looking and Maurice is intriguing!" He and I have really become quite close in the last several weeks. So anyway, I'm not going to part with Maurice at this point but it would still be nice to know who he is and from where he hails. So please speak up all of you china & porcelain experts! Maurice and I are dying to know his heritage! Thanks in advance!
Burelena & Maurice 🐴

Looking for Maurice too!
by: Marie

Funny, my sister is trying to find out about her piece too!

Found something Horse Head Pottery Mark on Dragonware in red on ebay
by: Marie



A clue to the horses head pottery mark manufacturer identity
by: Peter (admin)

Hi and welcome to Marie who has helped us narrow this mark down a bit.

So, we how know this is a Japanese maker, and likely a manufacturer who jumped into the fray during the post war export boom in the 1950's.

The reticulated plate of Burelina's and the dragonware style shown above on the ebay dragonware tea set with the same marking suggests this era.

So 1950's Japan, export ware. But can we narrow it down further?

At the moment not yet. It could of course, be one of the hundreds of marks used by a subsidiary of Noritake. But we would need confirmation of that. It could be one of their smaller, lesser known rivals.

Let's talk through the history of Japanese export wares, central to which is Dragonware. This maker was clearly one of the exporters of Dragonware, so if any dragonware collectors know this mark, please post.

Dragonware tea sets are a style of china decoration from Japan, stemming from the late 19th century. Moriage is the main technique used, involving the laying down of small raised beaded areas which are then hand painted.

There are different styles of dragonware, notable example being Satsuma ware (Satsuma Yaki). This style uses coral-like glass beading, enamels and painted golden dragons.

Some of the teacups have lithophanes of Geisha faces inside on the bottom (see a separate thread). These tend to hold a better price than others without and amongst collectors there are certain rarer more sought after lithopane marks.

Dragonware tends to be kept for show or wrapped up carefully and all imaginable items from ashtrays to lamps have been made and collected. Tea cups and tea pots should not be drunk from as the decoration may contain lead.

It is thought that the originator of Dragonware was the Nippon Noritake company. The Nippon Co. made wares for home consumption whilst their subsidiary, Noritake made export wares.

Pottery marks on Dragonware could be from either company or from any one of numerous rivals. This is where identification becomes not only difficult but in a sense, pointless. There are many hundreds of marks used both from the Nipon/Noritake Company and also a myriad of rival firms, many of which are not catalogued.

Collectible and higher priced items are those sets which are easily identified with older marks and/or have a distinct finesse and carefulness of detailing - generally those originating before the onset of the 20th Century as they had certain characteristics.

Early Nippon Toki Kaisha, Ltd pieces show larger and more fancy dragons that cover larger surface area and may even have glass eyes instead of china slip moriage beads for the eyes. Enamelling detail round the edges are also more typical of older style decoration. Colours on older more traditional set are often greys with black/white, perhaps with accents of blues or reds, sometimes oranges and chocolate brown.

Later export wares were a bit more churned out on mass and had less craft in the making, less detail, particularly on the dragon. Newer items can also be seen to be using a different brighter colour palette e.g., greens, pinks, yellows and purples. Anything unidentified or newer than antique are likely to not be distinctive enough to hold a collectible value.

Some collectors go for the ‘Occupied Japan’ pottery mark which can sometimes lead to bidding wars at auction and therefore higher prices.

Older Dragonware tea sets can sell for up to a few hundred dollars at auction but can reach four figure sums in certain circumstances of age, finesse or rareness.

Hope this helps give some light on the context of this horse head marking.

One day, we may know more about this Japanese Maurice. . . .

Peter (admin)

Horsehead S NEW
by: Lee Clark (Facebook)

I have a piece as well with a horsehead inside of an S ,,,help I need closure finding out about this mark

Blue Dragon Japanese Tea Set - The Horse Stamp NEW
by: Z-Long Island

This is the first site that I finally have found that shows the same Horse Head Stamp on this style tea set!!! I too have been searching for information regarding the marking but I have not found anything anywhere on this or of any Antque dealer who knows of this either. I have a 6 cup full set that my Grandmother received as a wedding gift (early 1930's) from a cousin who was stationed overseas. If anyone should happen to know the origin of this, PLEASE POST!!!

Thnank you!!!

Horse head
by: Rene Russo

I also have a tea cup and saucer from an estate sale and up till now had not been able to find out anything about it , but would never part with it ! So pretty ! Really would liike to know more about this special piece .

I have Maurice the horse’s twin
by: Aimee

This is the first and only site I have found that mentions anything about this marking. I have the exact same teacup and saucer as OP and have scoured the internet only to come up empty handed. I hope someone finds an answer! I’m insanely curious now.

Another set found!
by: Anonymoodr

I have a set of blue horse head lusterware cups and saucers (6x6) with somewhat intricate looking violets. The porcelain/china is lighter and thinner. The art looks too good to be quickly hand painted. The gold accents are fairly uniform as well. Considering this doesn't have a country mark could it be older than 1891, not intended for export, or would have possibly had a missing foil sticker that would have stated nippon/japan?

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