The first year Randy and I were married, his mother gave me this platter for Christmas. She knew I collected and enjoyed vintage dishes. Every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas, this platter held our turkey. I have used it a couple of times in Mississippi, but after the first few years, I never made a full turkey again as seldom were people here for the holidays and the three of us could not eat the whole turkey. This has been stashed in the buffet drawer for years, carefully wrapped in vintage table cloths from Mother and her Mama. In another marathon day of cleaning out and packing for the upcoming kitchen demolition and reinstallation, it has been sitting on the table, waiting for me to locate a box for it.
According to Jan-Erik Nilsson of Gotheborg.com–the Antique Chinese and Japanese Porcelain Collectors’ Help and Info Page, this backstamp appears to have been used only in 1947. With over 400 backstamps for Noritake, it is quite a feat apparently to date a piece of their fine china. Exports from Japan were halted in 1941 following the Pearl Harbor attack, and did not resume until 1948 during the Allied Forces occupation from 1945-1952.
The Japanese character in the circle is called Komaru, meaning “overcoming difficulties.” The symbol was first used when Japan began exporting china and experiencing cultural differences. Nilsson indicated this backstamp was replaced with a pre-war stamp after 1947, but it still had to carry the label Made in Occupied Japan. From 1945-until at least 1947, Noritake used the backstamp symbol with the words Rose China above a symbol of a rose and the words Made in Occupied Japan. The company thought they would preserve the Noritake name for later, fearing the war would lessen the value of the work.
Ads began appearing in the newspapers in 1948, such as:
Just released from U. S. Army Headquarters in Japan! NORITAKE CHINA WITH RICH GOLD DECORATION 93-PIECE SERVICE FOR 12 $139.
Count on A&S to bring you a lion’s share of the first Noritake china to be released from General MacArthur’s headquarters in occupied Japan. It’s been seven years since we’ve had this exquisite ware, and it would be hard to find a more glorious pattern than “Chantilly.”Daily News, March 3, 1948.
The patterns from this time period feature similar designs to my platter and the examples of the top two plates in the above advertisement. A large number of designs during the years 1948-1952 featured the bordered edge with a design, flower or leaf relief with a scroll inside the center of the plate. The scroll designs varied slightly, and the center inside the scroll was white with ivory on the shoulders.
I have not been able to locate the pattern name of my platter, although I have used a database for all Noritake patterns that fit the years of the occupation, as well as hundreds of images on ebay, Etsy, replacements, and collectors’ forums. The shape of the platter with its gold trimmed handles was found on any number of similar designs, such as Chevonia and Clermont. I did find an example of the pattern on Etsy, but it only described it as “Blue Gold Trim Colorful Florals on Ivory Antique Made in Occupied Japan Lovely vintage Art Deco–presumably because she could not find it either. There are also a couple of sites where the design is mis-identified as the Chevonia and Clermont, which clearly feature a different style flower, color of the border scroll, and the inside gold scroll is different.
For now, the name shall remain a mystery, at least to me.