Glossary of Terminologies

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Noritake Glossary of Terminologies

Why do we have a Glossary of Terminologies? Like other specialised areas of interest, Noritake (Tableware and Giftware) China are no different.

There are many terms used on our website to describe specific manufacturing, marketing and product lines. In order to help collectors and others who may be interested in Noritake China products understand, we have with the assistance of Noritake Australia developed a simple A to Z Glossary of Terminologies.

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Ad Valorem

In proportion to the value: A tax or duties payable on imported goods.

Afternoon tea

A rather formal gathering when tea is served with the traditional Tea Setting and Cake Plate. Afternoon tea is still a practice in use today in both Australia and New Zealand as well as many other countries around the world. The setting comprises 6 trios (teacup, saucer, and side plate), a tea pot, sugar bowl, and a small milk or creamer jug, a rounded shaped large cake plate either in a tiered or single level format.



A Backstamp is the mark found on items which help to identify the maker, country of origin and date the piece. Backstamps are also referred to as backmarks.


A term used to refer to the first firing from ‘Greenware’ to a porous (absorbent) unglazed clay fired body.

Biscuit Porcelain

Biscuit Porcelain is decorated Porcelain fired without a glaze. Exklusiv Design Deutsche Noritake Royal Meridian Handgemalt Vertrieb Figurines are example of Biscuit fired porcelain.

Bone China

Bone China contains at least 30% Cow Ash in its raw materials. It produces a translucent, chip resistant lightness and soft colour body. Bone China is perceived as high quality china.

Breakfast Set

A breakfast set comprised a large bowl with 6 small bowls, usually oatmeal bowls, 6 side or bread and butter plates, 6 egg cups, a butter dish, a fruit bowl, and a full tea or coffee service and a toast rack. Such settings were commonplace during the early part of the 1900’s to the 1950’s.



A manufacturing process in which clay slip is poured into plaster molds which contains a hollow cavity of the desired shape. After pouring is completed, the mold is allowed to solidify to form desired shape of a finished product eg: Teapots, Vases, Platters, Platters etc.

Casual China

Casual China is usually dishwasher-safe and microwave oven safe. The Casual china range does not have either gold or platinum trims as the gold or platinum trim is susceptible to damaged in both microwave ovens and dishwashers.


China is a term applied to high-quality porcelain or ceramic ware which has been fired at very high temperatures. Ceramics are believed to have originated in China. China is sometimes referred to as ‘Porcelain’ or ‘Earthenware’, which is generally used for tableware. Porcelain is occasionally referred to as "china" in some parts of the world because until the 17th century, the Chinese were the sole producers of vitrified porcelain products.

Collector Clubs

A society or group of people which usually charges an annual fee in the form of Membership. Such groups specialise in a particular areas of collecting, such as Noritake. The group usually provides information to its members on such subjects as special pieces, finds, marks, exhibitions, showcases, and special offers, etc.

Continuous Kiln

A continuous kiln is also called a ‘Tunnel Kiln’, which is a long tunnel structure in which only the central part is directly heated. For example, in the glost firing stage, the bodies are slowly transported through the entrance of the kiln where the temperature is slowly increased as it approaches the middle part of the kiln. In the middle part of the kiln the glaze fuses to the body of the porcelain. After this stage is completed the bodies move along the conveyor where the temperature is gradually reduced where it exits the kiln at near room temperature.

Continuous kiln in action                   Photo Courtesy Noritake Sri Lanka


Coralene a decorating technique which was popular during the Victorian Era from 1850 to the early 1900’s. Coralene technique was the application of tiny glass beads, which were shaped into a decorative design such as a tree, flower/s etc and then placed in a kiln and heated. Coralene technique can be found on glass, porcelain and pottery products. When a Coralene technique item was completed, the finished decoration resembled a beaded ‘marine coral like texture’. Coralene textured items are highly prized amongst some Nippon Collectors.


Cratering is visible on ceramic and finished porcelain bodies where broken bubbles in the glazed surface. Cratering is usually associated with underfiring. Some early Noritake pieces have visible cratering marks in the surface of the glaze.


Crazing is a network of fine cracks in the surface of clay wared glazed products caused by different rates of contraction between the clay and the glaze in some cases purposely cased during the gloss firing stage. Crazing can also occur as a consequence of poor handling procedures as a result of minimal use or subjecting the product to sudden hot and cold temperatures such as in dishwashing machines.



Decal is the term used to refer to the art of transferring designs in the form of a decorative sticker made from specially prepared paper, cloth or plastic material that has printed on it a design/pattern which is applied by hand to either china, glass, or a metal surface usually with the aid of heat or water. A decal or transfer once fired then becomes a permanent feature. The word is short for ‘decalcomania’.


Decalcomania, from the French décalcomanie, is a decorative technique by which engravings and prints may be transferred to pottery or other materials. It was invented in England about 1750. Its invention has been attributed to Simon François Ravenet, an engraver from France who later moved to England and perfected the process he called ‘decalquer’ (which means to copy by tracing). It is pronounced DEE-CALK. Today the shortened version is ‘decal’. Source Wikipedia

Decal Decoration

Decal Decoration is always done by hand. Decal decoration is divided into three methods of application.

  1. Over Glaze – This procedure is fired at 750oc – 900oc.

  2. Under Glaze – This procedure is fired at 700oc.

  3. Sink-In Glaze – This procedure is fired at 1200oc -1300oc.

Deface a term used to refer to ‘impair’ or ‘spoil the appearance or surface, to disfigure or to obliterate; destroy’.

Detergent Proof

Detergent proof lines included Noritake ‘Cook n Serve’ in production til around 1972. Other product lines include Noritake’s Toughmate, Options by Noritake, Primachina, Sea & Sky, Misty Isle Collection, Keltcraft.

Dishwasher Safe

Dishwasher Safe basically depends on the way a product is decorated. Plain white designs with no decoration are definitely safe to use in a dishwashing machine. Decorated bodies such as bodies with “Patterns” appearing on them including “Trims” such as gold or platinum are usually not safe to used in a dishwasher.


Most Casual China is Dishwasher Safe. Without gold or platinum

Casual Ivory Porcelain (Epoch), Fine white porcelain, Contemporary Formal Fine Porcelain, Some product lines in the Bone China Range, Noritake Stoneware, Keltcraft, Contemporary Craftone, New Decade, Primachina, Sink In Glaze and Under Glazed product lines, Primastone, Folkstone, Nitto Genuine Stoneware, Versatone Orient, Honfleur, Flo’s Collection, Legendary by Noritake, Impromptu, Homecraft by Noritake, Galerie Maison by Noritake.



Earthenware Pottery made from a porous clay that is fired at relatively low temperatures so that the clay does not vitrify (become glassy) as do stoneware and porcelain clays. Faience, Delft and Majolica are examples of earthenware. Earthenware was produced by Noritake Ide, which produced the Royal Orchard range.


Embossing refers to the raised or design on a range of dinnerware called ‘embossed China. The delicate sculptured designs of ‘Noritake Embossed China’ bring a new dimension to gracious dinning. Noritake Embossed China included patterns such as Irmina 6601, Mabel 6357, Sabrina 6461. Embossing occurred as part of the casting process but was also formed separately and then applied before the firing process. Source: Catalogue ‘The Stunning Elegance of Noritake’.



Something made to deceive, or, to misrepresent as being authentic.


Any of a group of hard crystalline minerals that consist of aluminium silicates of potassium, sodium, calcium or barium.

Fine Casual China

Fine Casual China was developed for the hotel and restaurant industry and for casual use. Fine Casual China contains aluminium, which makes the product a little bit stronger and heavier than regular china. It also contains bone ash, enabling beautiful coloured designs to be expressed. Being heat resistant this makes the bodies stronger, and therefore oven-safe.

Fine China

Fine China can be described as Formal China that has a Gold or Platinum Trim.


A process of heating an object inside a kiln until the desired stage (biscuit firing, glost firing, and decoration firing) has been achieved.

Biscuit Firing

Biscuit Firing is where the greenware is fired for the first time.

  • Bone China Biscuit ware is fired at 1250oc to 1300oc.

  • Porcelain Biscuit bodies are fired at 800oc to 900oc.
Decal Decoration Firing

Decals are first applied by hand to the top of the glost fired bodies which is called Decal Decoration Firing.

  • Over-glazed products are fired at 750oc to 900oc.

  • Sink-in products are fired at 1200oc to 1300oc.
Decoration Firing (Gold and Platinum Lining)

Gold and Platinum lining decoration firing occurs after each piece has been individual hand painted with a very fine film of liquid gold or platinum which is then fired at 750oc to 850oc.

Glost Firing

Glost firing is where the glaze is applied to the biscuit bodies and firing for the second time.

  • Bone China is glost fired at 1100oc to 1200oc.
  • Porcelain glost firing occurs at between 1280oc and 1400oc.
Fine China (Formal China) usually has gold or platinum trims.



Greenware is the unfired clay stage of a moulded shape.

Green Noritake Maruki - JDesign Pat Applied for or Pattern Pend

Noritake Maruki JDesign Pat Applied for or Pattern Pend backstamp was used on a wide range of hand painted utility ware for the Commonwealth of Australia Market. Noritake Jdesign stood for ‘Japanese Design’. Patterns which are commonly found using this mark for the Commonwealth of Australia Market are “Kangaroo, Blue Wren and Wattle, Gondola or Merchant of Venice, Man in the Field, Red Roof House by the Lake with Cherry Blossom Tree in Blue Lusterware background, Hounds and huntsman, Orange Crinoline Lady on white background, Blue Bird over Pagoda scene. It is known that some of the above patterns were also made for both the North American Market which bore the Red M in the Wreath Made in Japan stamp Handpainted, and also a Green Maruki symbol for the British and European Markets.


Hairline facture

A fracture in which the fragments do not separate because the line of break partially be present. A hairline facture may measure only a couple of millimetres in length.

High Tea

A fairly substantial meal that includes tea and is served in the late afternoon or early evening.


Ivory China

Ivory China is named because of its ivory colour look, whatever material it may be. Ivory China is created in three ways. Any of the following factors could make it Ivory China.

  1. Glaze

  2. Combination of materials

  3. Oxidation Firing (low temperature firing)

In-glaze is a method of decorating ceramic articles, where the decoration is applied on the surface of the glaze before the glost fire so that it matures simultaneously with the glaze.

Intermittent Kiln

An Intermittent Kiln is a kiln where the bodies are loaded into the kiln. The kiln is sealed and the internal temperature is increased according to a schedule for the particular firing cycle eg: glost firing. After the firing schedule is completed, both the kiln and ware are cooled. Intermittent Kilns were used in the production of Early Noritake before the introduction of ‘Tunnel Kilns’ in July of 1934 with the first successful firing in No 1 tunnel Kiln for glost and biscuit firings.


Jiggering Machine

The Jiggering Machine is a machine for the shaping of clay body into round shape products such as plates and cups.



A Kiln is an insulated oven or furnace, which is thermostatically controlled to harden the porcelain bodies (bisque firing) in very high temperatures. Kilns are also used in the gloss firing, and decoration firing stage of ceramic and porcelain production.



Lining is the Technique which is used when Gold or Platinum is applied to the edge of decoration of selected product ranges eg: fine china (formal china) tableware lines. The Gold used is normally 14K, 18K or 22K. The liquid gold decoration is normally fired at approximately 750ox – 850oc. Lining is always done by hand.

Luncheon Set
A setting of china which includes an oblong tray on which cut sandwiches are placed and a set of 6 side plates which are used to place a sandwich in a formal afternoon party setting. Either a coffee or tea service was used as part of the setting in which a light meal is served. Still used today but not as regularly as in bygone days.

Lusterware - Lustre

Lusterware is a type of pottery or porcelain with a metallic glaze that gives the effect of iridescence, produced by metallic oxides in an overglaze finish, which is given a second firing at a lower temperature in a reduction kiln which excludes oxygen. (Source:


‘M-in-Wreath’ backstamp

A term used to describe the Backstamp with the Letter ‘M’ inside a wreath. Joan Van Pattern numbered this mark as number 47 and is often referred to as JVP #47. This backstamp was used from 1911 to 1921 on wares produced by Morimura family businesses. This mark was in use during the Nippon Era. The Wreath symbol stood for the Family Crest of the ‘Morimura Family’.


The words Hand Painted Nippon represented the early period of porcelain production known as the NIPPON ERA 1868 to 1921. This coincided with the reign of two Japanese Emperors, Meiji (1868/1912) and Taisho (1913/1926). The use of Nippon on products imported into the USA was a requirement of the 'McKinley Tariffs & Customs Administrative Act of June 10, 1890', (McKinley Act - highest protective measure ever proposed to Congress) which, in part:

  • Advanced duties ad valorem on a considerable number of commodities, both raw materials and manufactured articles.

  • Required that all foreign goods imported into the USA be marked with the country of origin in English.
In 1921 the Congress of the USA deemed the use of Nippon unacceptable and required the country of origin name to be Japan.

Maruki Symbol

The Maruki symbol is the Corporation Motif of the Morimura Kumi Group of Companies.

The symbolism behind the Maruki Backstamp is as follows -
  1. The centre design of Maruki was taken from the Chinese Character 'Kon' of Konnan, meaning 'DIFFICULTY'.

  2. The centre (tree or 'ki') of square was modified to new design and the stem of tree was also modified to spears, these spears to break through the difficulty situation.

  3. Finally to settle everything smoothly and peacefully, cut off four corners and made them to circle.'

  4. Application of use of Maruki Mark on backmark with Noritake (Company Name) at top and Made In Japan (Country of Origin) at base. This mark has several variations, which were used from as early as 1902 in its simplest form without any words.
Application of use:

The Maruki symbol was used not only for Morimura Backstamps, but also for Noritake backstamps, Toyo Toki Kaisha (present day Toto & Co) Kokura China, chinaware products, logos of Morimura Brothers Incorporated companies, letterheads and envelopes, stencil marks of wooden boxes and cartons for export and domestic goods, workman's livery, company flag, employee's badges and more.

Maruki in the Wreath Made in Japan Backstamp

The Maruki in the Wreath Made in Japan Backstamp was registered for the Commonwealth of Australia in 1933. This backstamp can be found in Green, Red and Gold.


Maruki in the Wreath Made No Country of Origin or Company Name

The Maruki in the Wreath backstamp with no reference to the Manufacture or Country of Origin was registered in 1935. This mark is found on a range of products in both the Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand. This mark is often referred to as the AUNZ 1935 mark. This mark can be found in both Red and Green.


Microwave Oven Safe

Microwave oven safe depends on the way it was decorated. All plain white bodies are considered to be safe to use in Microwave ovens. All bodies with gold or platinum, UNLESS OTHERWISE INDICATED ON THE BACKSTAMP are not safe to use in a microwave oven.

Some product lines which may be used in a Microwave oven included, Casual Ivory Porcelain (Epoch), Fine white porcelain, Contemporary Formal Fine Porcelain, Some product lines in the Bone China Range, Stoneware, Keltcraft, Craftone, New Decade, Primachina, Honfleur, San Remo by Noritake, Options by Noritake, Homecraft by Noritake, Flo’s Collection, Legendary by Noritake, Sea & Sky, Toughmate, Impromptu, Galerie Maison by Noritake, Misty Isle Collection, Versatone, Contemporary Craftone.

Moriage Decoration

Moriage is a style of decoration used by porcelain manufacturers during the late 1800s/early 1900s. It is the art of laying "beads" of porcelain on the item prior to firing in the kiln. Most typically it was decorated later in gold. Use caution when purchasing Moriage decorated items as the beads have a tendency to be broken off.

Noritake Co., Limited - Japan

Noritake Company of Japan was established in 1904, trading as 'Nippon Toki Gomei Kaisha'. In 1981 Noritake Co., Limited formerly changed its Trading name to 'Noritake Co., Ltd. Japan'.

The Original factory was constructed in the then small village town of Noritake, Nagoya, Japan. Noritake Co., Japan took its name from the 'small village of Noritake' from where the original factory was established.

Original Noritake Factory            Photo Courtesy Noritake Aust Pty Ltd

Nippon Toki Kaisha Limited

In 1904 the Nippon Toki Gomei Kaisha., established at 510, Mukai, Noritake, Takaha-mura, Aichi-gun, Aichi-ken.

Nippon Toki Kaisha Limited later changed its name to Noritake Company of Japan. Noritake Co., Japan.

'Nippon Toki Kaisha' means 'Japan Pottery Company'.



Original Equipment Manufacturing “Licensed Production Contractors’. Some Noritake product lines were produced under O.E.M. Licence using outside companies. O.E.M. companies had to meet the exacting standards of production before becoming certified as O.E.M. Licensed companies or companies certified to product certain Noritake China Lines. Products produced by O.E.M. companies were sold via Noritake, and not by the company making the product. All O.E.M. products use the Noritake backmark.

Oven Safe

Oven safe product lines include Keltcraft, Noritake Stoneware, Casual Fine China, (Epoch lines up to 150oc) Primadura, Versatone, Gala Cuisine (fine causal china), Gourmet Garden and Gourmet Harvest, Noritake’s 1941 to 1955 product line “Oven China Guaranteed Heat proof”, Honfleur, Contemporary Stoneware, Flo’s Collection, some patterns of Legendary by Noritake (refer to backmark for more details), Sea & Sky, Toughmate, Homecraft by Noritake, Galerie Maison by Noritake, Options by Noritake, Misty Isle Collection, Versatone, Contemporary Craftone, Progression China.

Note: Most porcelain and Bone China are not safe to use in an oven. Only some “Casual China” lines of which material itself is strong can be used in an Oven. Also refer to backstamp or if unsure, contact your local Noritake retailer or Noritake in your country of Origin for more detailed information.


On-glaze is a method of decorating porcelain products, where the decoration is applied after it has been glazed. When the ware is fired, or re-fired in the case of twice fired ware, the colours fuse into the glaze and so the decoration becoming durable. Because the decorating fire can be at a lower temperature with on-glaze decoration a more varied palette of colours is available than with underglaze decoration.


Over-Glaze a technique where the decoration is applied on top of a layer of glaze and then fired. Overglaze methods include applying one or more layers or coats of glaze on the porcelain body. “Over-glaze” technique is less expensive than the “under-glaze” technique. “Overglaze” products may be more subject to scratching from vigorous utensil use. This technique required firing at 750oc to 900oc.


Parian Ware

Soft porcelain (soft paste) composed of one part china clay and two parts feldspar, used for making statuettes.

Pea Flower and Wheat with Maruki Backstamp

Pea Flower and Wheat with Maruki mark registered in 1931 used on items for the Commonwealth of Australia Market.


Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating raw materials, such as Clay China, Kaolin and Feldspar in a in a kiln to temperatures between 1,200 °C and 1,400 °C. It is during this procedure that porcelain acquires its strength and translucence like nature. Porcelain is superior to Bone China in respect to glaze hardness and is cheaper than Bone China to produce.

Progression China

First produced in 1964 with marketing commencing in 1966 to the USA and other parts of the world. Noritake’s Progression China was sold as ‘Oven-to-table-to-dishwasher-to freezer ware. Noritake Progression China was a heat resistant reinforced tableware, suitable for use in both gas and electric ovens and then for serving on the table. Noritake Progression China when first sold had a 2-year warranty for free replacement for normal household use to customers in the USA only. Noritake Progression China was so popular that a dedicated factory was established at Wakamiya-cho, Fukuoka Prefecture, in Kyushu and was called ‘Kyushu Porcelainware Mfg. Co., Ltd). Noritake Procession China was patented in 10 countries include the USA. Noritake Progression China was discontinued 1983.


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Reinforced Porcelain

In 1973 Noritake produced the Primadura line a ‘Ultra Hard Porcelain’ which have a higher strength then conventional porcelain which ensured that the edges where more chip resistant. This line was produced for the Hotel and Restaurant industry. Reinforced porcelain was achieved through a process mixing fine powder of alumina and medium temperature firing which generating stronger crystal formulation (Mullite or porcelainite) of the hard glaze used by Noritake for this product line.. “Mullite is produced artificially during various melting and firing processes“. Source From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


The act of making new or to repair to make look like new again, or to make a piece look like it did before it was damaged.


A skilled worker who is employed to restore or refinish antiques and other damaged pieces.



An original hand painted piece that is signed by the artist, it bears his signature.

Sink-In Glaze

Sink-In Glaze is a technique, which allowed for the pigment to sink in to the body.


Slip is the liquid clay that is poured into molds during the casting process to produce Greenware.


Stoneware is known for its colour glaze as it is inferior to porcelain in whiteness. Stoneware bodies are heavier than Porcelain and Fine Bone China and are not transparent and is usually made of local clay. Stoneware is less expensive than both Bone China and Porcelain products. Products included Primastone, Genuine Stoneware – later (1971) becoming Noritake Folkstone, Contemporary Stoneware.


Tapestry Technique

Tapestry Technique involved a process using a coarse gauged fabric material which was placed in porcelain slip (liquid porcelain) and allowed to absorb/soak in the porcelain heavy bodied material. Once full absorption was achieved the artisan would ensure that fabric was evenly coated. He or she then affixes porcelain soaked material to the area of the object the ‘Tapestry Technique’ is to appear. Once the area has been shaped the object is allowed to dry and then placed into a kiln for a bisque style of firing, (First Firing). During the firing process the fabric is incinerated leaving the fine detail of the gauze and the outline of the shape. After firing, the artisan then proceeds to paint a design onto the now ‘Tapestry area’ and the remainder of the object. The object then goes to the decoration kiln and fired. It may then be followed by a glost firing depending of the function the object takes. Tapestry Technique was used during the Nippon Noritake Era on a range of product lines. For those interested in the Nippon Era of Noritake, you might like to visit the ‘International Nippon Collectors' Club’ for more details.


A list or system of duties imposed by a government on imported or exported goods.

Transfer ware

Transfer ware is named given to the process by which the patterns are imprinted on china. It involved a technique which first used an engraved copper plate which had been inked and then a damp tissue was impressed under pressure. This damp tissue was then removed from the press and placed on the object to be fired. During the firing process the tissue was burnt leaving a permanent inked design on the object. Today transfer wares are mass produced using celluloid material with a painted design. Decals as they are called are applied to the object by hand and then fired in the same process resulting in a decoration which becomes a permanent part of the object.


Underglaze is a technique of decorating porcelain products the decoration is applied to the surface before it is glazed. The glaze will subsequently cover it such decoration is completely durable, but because the subsequent glost firing is at a higher temperature than used in on-glaze decoration the range of available colours is more limited. This technique was used on lines suitable for use in Microwave Ovens and Ovens. The firing temperature was around 700oc. Underglazed products included the ‘Cook ‘n’ Serve range. This technique had limited use and was more expensive to produce.



Vitrified means a process where ‘the starting material is solid, vitrification usually involves heating the substances to very high temperatures. Many ceramic products are produced in such a manner’. Source: Wikipedia


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