Beautiful antique Japanese NIPPON (Nichi How) cobalt blue & white Imari porcelain teacup and saucer set, with an Asian motif of peony flowers, loquat fruit and people, with a polychrome overglaze and hand-painted gold trim. (c. late 1800's - early 1900's) Excellent condition with no chips, cracks or repairs noted.
The antique flat porcelain teacup (tea cup) features an all-around panel design, with each panel depicting one the four different designs - a loquat tree with fruit, a woman holding a sparkler aloft over a child, a swallow bird on a stump below a loquat tree, and two men - one could be a Samurai with a sword next to a Shogun / Daimyo - standing next to a table.. Hand-painted gold trim along the upper edge (shows some wear) and along the outside of the handle. Hand-painted colorization, over glaze, is noted on the peonies (pink) and on the loquat fruit (yellow). Gold metallic accents on the people and the birds. Teacup measures 2-3/8" tall, 3-1/8" in diameter along the rim and 3-7/8" from the outside edge of the handle to the outside edge of the lip.
The matching round antique round saucer features the same designs and measures 5" in diameter. The hand-painted gold trim along the inside edge shows considerable wear. Both antique Nippon porcelain pieces are marked on the bottoms under glaze with the Japanese characters, Nichi How, which means Nippon.
This beautiful antique cup and saucer is marked Nippon, dating this piece pre-1921, when trade enforcement required items to be marked, "made in Japan".
Peonies - The Chinese introduced Japan to the peony tree during the Nara period (710 – 794). To the Chinese, the flower represented good fortune, high honour, and the season of Spring. The flower gained prominence in Japanese scrolling patterns, especially those used in brocades. Like the Chinese, the Japanese considered the peony to be ‘king of the flowers’ and therefore use it as a popular motif in textile design – often regardless of season.
Swallows - Swallow birds are yearly migrants arriving in Japan in early Spring. As a symbol of that season they can be easily identified in textile representations by their v-shaped tail. The swallow is also a symbol of good luck, fidelity in marriage, and fertility.
Loquats - are unusual among fruit trees in that the flowers appear in the autumn or early winter, and the fruits are ripe in late winter or early spring. Loquat fruits, growing in clusters, are oval, rounded or pear-shaped, 3–5 cm long, with a smooth or downy, yellow or orange, sometimes red-blushed skin. The succulent, tangy flesh is white, yellow or orange and sweet to subacid or acid, depending on the cultivar. The loquat was introduced into Japan and became naturalised there in very early times, and has been cultivated there for over 1,000 years.
A2676 - Antique Japanese NIPPON (Nichi How) Blue & White Imari Porcelain Teacup & Saucer Set