Archive for April 15th, 2010

Nippon Egyptian Scenes 2 – Kneeling Pharaohs

Like most people I have an interest in things decorated in the Egyptian style.  At a young age I was very taken with the mystery of the Great Pyramids of Egypt. But I don’t just collect Egyptian items. Actually, I collect Nippon. And this is yet another blog (I have written a few, see below) on Nippon collecting and the many varied styles of Nippon.

This brightly colored decoration features hieroglyphics, scarab, and of course kneeling pharaohs.  At first look a person does a double take as the figures look a little risqué to say the least.  However, this Nippon is officially known as The Kneeling Pharaohs.  This is a diverse assortment of items in Egyptian style showing four seated Gods (sons of Osiris) around the bottom (mug) along with various hieroglyph type symbols, and depicts a scarab or sacred beetle in the center of the design. Ancient Egyptians considered the scarab to be connected with protecting the heart of the dead, thus insuring a source of life and movement in the afterlife.  This design is found on vases as well but not on humidors. I wonder what the Japanese artisans thought of these scenes when they painted them for the U.S. market back in the early 1900s. 

Pharaohs in ancient Egypt were considered to be all-powerful rulers with divine connections.  The Egyptian type designs featured on these wares look as though they could have been found on the walls of the old king’s tombs.  Even the colors used on the Nippon Bowl pictured are a close approximation of the colors used on the original jeweled pectoral found in the tomb of Rameses II. This decor is known to exist on candlesticks, vases, bowls, desk items and jugs and carries the green backstamp #47.


A Nippon “Kneeling Pharaohs” mug purchased from a collector in Alabama. Mug is 5 1/2″ tall and has the green backstamp #47.



Bowl, 10″ wide including handles, green mark #47 as shown.  Mint condition, as gold gilding is not worn. Purchased at Cherry Berry Vintage a delightful shop on Etsy.com.


The above bowl is actually a documented piece in Joan VanPatten’s book  ABC’s of Nippon Collecting, 2005 on page 204. Retail value $350.00 – 425.00.  The bowl above is actually in better condition than the one shown in the book because the gold isn’t badly worn on the handles.

These items are even rarer to find in the “Molded Egyptian”, a molded-in-relief decoration found on various desk set pieces, humidors, cigarette boxes, and candle-sticks. On the molded-in-relief inkwells and humidors there is a scarab on top of the finial and the candlesticks are molded in the shape of columns.  Hieroglyphics are featured on the pieces but they are not actual Egyptian ones. These pieces are also marked with the green #47 backstamp. Since I have not been able to find and add a molded-in-relief  Nippon Egyptian piece to my collection, I don’t yet have a photo to show you.

Here is another Nippon Egyptian item of interest.  Isis or Ashmose?

The Egyptian goddess Isis on a hand painted Nippon ashtray. Part of my “Nippon” collection.

Egyptian-type Nippon offers a wide source of interest and sheds light on the taste of the era they were made. Had the tomb of Tutankhamen been discovered a few years earlier there probably would have been even more fabulous Egyptian pieces painted.

Be sure to visit my store “Kelekchens” on eBay and Bonanzle. To go to my eBay store now just put your cursor on my assistant (The Duck) and press enter. Enjoy.

I am waiting on a shipment from outside the U.S. It has some interesting pieces I will use in my next post so be sure to check in occasionally.  Until next time Happy Collecting and remember “the best is yet to come”.

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