Brilliant porcelain across the Pacific Ocean – Old Noritake: Beauty Bridging East & West

Nov 18, 2021 - Dec 29, 2021

About Exhibition

Organized by The Nippon Club

Supported by the J.C.C. Fund

(Philanthropic Fund of Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in New York)

In cooperation with the Japan Porcelain Society

Directed by Dr. Yoshie Itani


In Japanese society, which changed dramatically in the Meiji Restoration (1868), Japanese potters faced their daily work with absolute sincerity. The ideas they invested into their earthenware creations were made real in the forms of tableware or works of art, all of which were collectively referred to as "Old Noritake" and mainly exported to the United States. These pieces were subsequently passed on from generation to generation and have been treasured by the American people throughout the years hence. 


Since modern porcelains exported from Japan after the Meiji era initially bore a back stamp of the country name: Nippon, they have commonly been referred to as Nippon and have become highly prized as works of art. 


Nippon porcelains achieved prodigious sales volumes in the United States at their creation by overcoming high tariff barriers imposed on Japanese goods exported there. However, in response to a U.S. government ordinance that decreed that the country of origin's name appear on imported goods marked in "legible English," sometime around 1920, the back stamp on Japanese goods was changed from Nippon to Japan.


At around the same time, the American people, who had been fond of and often greatly respected European art and fashion, discovered the attractiveness of the American version of Art Deco and became highly enthusiastic about its designs. Designs of Japanese export porcelains also began to change from a style that focused on the tastes of foreign countries to this new American Art Deco. This exhibition is scheduled under the direction of Dr. Yoshie Itani (Project Professor, Tokyo University of the Arts).


At the exhibition, we will be tracing the histories of both genres by dividing the show into two parts; the first half focusing on the original Nippon porcelains created in the Meiji and early Taisho eras, and the latter half featuring Japanese products produced in the American Art Deco style.


We hope that this exhibition will provide viewers with an opportunity to reexamine not only the technologies and exquisite designs created by the original Japanese artisans who lived in modern times but also the sincere love of American families and their neighbors reflected in Old Noritake and to seek out what can be found in the years that lie ahead.


We want to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation to Ms. Junko Araki, Mr. Kazuhiko Kimura, Mr. Shinya Maezaki, Mr. Jun Mizuhiro, Ms. Itsuka Yakumo and the Japan Porcelain Society for their cooperation and support in holding this exhibition.