Nippon Hand-Painted Vase, ca. 1910
Appraised Value: $1,000 - $1,800 (2007)
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (3:30)
Books & Manuscripts, Decorative Arts, Furniture, Pottery & Porcelain, Silver
GUEST: I've gotten this from a neighbor of ours. She was from Germany and she brought this and she gave this to my wife, you know, for appreciation for the things my wife had done for her. We live in a condo and she lived in a unit right next door to us. And we used to go over there and talk with her and visit. And she thought so much of my wife that she wanted to give her something and this is what she gave her.
APPRAISER: Okay, so she was from Germany. Where do you think this is from?
GUEST: I have no idea. Um, but I... Since she was from Germany, I said it would come from Germany, but looking at it, it looks like the desert and everything on it, so... I would say Africa or someplace.
APPRAISER: It's a little bit of a trick question. This vase is actually made in Japan. It's actually a piece of what we call Nippon porcelain. Nippon porcelain is porcelain that's made between 1891 and 1921. If I were to regionalize the date, I'd probably say about 1910. Now, in Nippon, or in Japan, at this time period, basically there were a group of entrepreneurs from Europe and America who wanted to produce what they thought was cheap porcelain. So they looked at what was popular in Europe at the time, and they decided they were going to send out designs and actually send certain artisans out to Japan to make copies of what looked like European porcelain. So they sent somebody out there and they said, "You know what? We want, um, we want a bunch of vases "that are painted with landscape scenes. And how about a desert scene?" And so they had all of these Western- or Middle-Eastern-looking scenes that were all made in Japan. But the great part about this is, is that while most of Europe at this time was using transfer-print techniques or just decal-decorated porcelain, this is all hand-painted. And this is what makes this a good vase. Now, at the top here, you have this collar here which is what we call "jeweled." This has most of the bells and whistles that we really look for in terms of quality in Nippon porcelain. And it's got a nice scrolled, gold leaf handles here, but the real eye-grabber is right in the middle here-- nice desert, what we call an "Orientalist" scene, and it's not only in the front, but it is in the back as well. And as we move down, you see a lot of different colors, more jeweling at the base, and actually, the base of this is bolted to the bottom here. So that is actually a sign of very, very good quality. Right here, this is where you have your hand-painted Nippon mark. It says in English, so you know that it's for Europe and America. But the interesting thing is, as history has passed, the sort of joke was on the European countries, because now we look at this as one of the best types of porcelain that you can buy out of Japan from the early part of the 20th century. So it's got some value to it.
GUEST: Oh, very good.
APPRAISER: One like this would probably sell at auction for a thousand to $1,500 or a thousand to $1,800. It is almost the best one that you can find. And interestingly enough, if this were just white, just plain, it would be worth about $25. But you add all this to it, it becomes that much better. It becomes the best Nippon vase that we've seen here in a while.
GUEST: Oh, I'm glad to hear that. That's excellent. Now I got to get it back home safely.
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