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Among Nipponear’s the Cleopatra’s Barge Scene is  familiar.  You can find this motif on chargers, plaques, vases, urns, smoking sets, and jugs, both the wine and whiskey jug.  The story goes that Cleopatra fell in love with Marc Antony and they ruled Egypt and Rome together.  It was said that Cleopatra once came sailing up the river Cydnus on a barge that had outspread sails of purple and oars of silver. The barge supposedly had a gilded stem and Cleopatra sat under a canopy of gold cloth dressed as Venus.  A sight to behold I am sure.

But since we were not there we can only dream and imagine what the royal lives of such as those like Cleopatra was truly like.  To help us imagine such scenes are the beautiful hand painted artwork of Japanese painters from the early 20th century.

         

This is a very nice 12″ charger of  Cleopatra’s Barge, matte finish. The name given this Nippon motif.  Recently purchased and added to my collection.

A very similar 10 1/4″ wall plaque with the Nippon green mark #47 is listed in Joan VanPatten’s ABC’s of Collecting Nippon Porcelain on page 203 and listed at $400.00 to $475.00, 2005 price guide. With the charger I received a nice bonus piece.

    

Vase 5 1/2″ with excellent gold gilding, matte finish.  Mint condition.  Green mark #47.

  

Most normally you will find Cleopatra’s Barge motif in orange background with lavender highlights but occasionally you may see a “hard to find” piece that is particularly alluring such as this lavender/blue Cleopatra’s barge. Note that the bow of the barge is different but the background scene is the same.  This ashtray is not in a VanPatten book and I own all 7 series. I was excited to get this piece. However there is a wall plaque of a blue Cleopatra’s Barge lavender/blue as shown in The Collector’s Encyclopedia of Nippon, Joan VanPatten 1979, Plate 355 on page 217.

    

Cleopatra’s Barge motif in lavender/blue with white highlights, an unusual find.  Ashtray is 3 1/2″ C  by 1  1/4″ H  Green mark #47

If you are collecting Nippon or Noritake I would highly recommend some reference books on these wares.  Not necessarily to find items that are listed in the books but to find the items that are not listed.  Those not listed are the most exciting because you never know,  that one piece might be a “hard to find” piece or production from that mold and/or the color is uncommon. 

I would recommend the Nippon books by Joan VanPatten and also The Wonderful World of Nippon Porcelain 1891 – 1921 by Kathy Wojciehowski.  It wouldn’t hurt to also have Noritake Collectibles A to Z by David Spain.  I come across many Noritake pieces that are the same mold and even the same design as Nippon pieces and sometimes just as well painted although without the “Nippon” on the backstamp.   Also a copy of 2010 Antique Trader by Dan Brownell or a Kovell’s 2010 price guide. Indispensible for collecting and antique-ing.

Here are a few more very nice recent acquisitions:

Nippon wall plaque, 10 1/4″, green mark #47. Listed in VanPatten’s ABC of Collecting, 2005 on page 300.  Mint condition.

  

Very similar to the “Green Swan Scene.”  8 3/4″ plaque also listed in the ABC’s of Nippon by VanPatten. Blue mark #52 which dates this plaque to as far back as 1891.

  

Nippon 10″ plaque, country cottage in brown, pink and lavender highlights with beautiful enamel moriage trim. Green mark # 47.

  

Just a note about plates, plaques and chargers. A plate is not just a plate.  If labeled a plaque it has two holes on its backside to hang the plaque on the wall. A charger is normally larger than a 9 1/2″ plate, usually 12″ to 14″ and can be round or square. Does not hang without a bracket to hang it with.  Normally displayed on a large plate holder which occasionally comes with the plate otherwise you would have to buy one.  A plate usually has multiple copies and ranges from 9″ to 9 3/4″ and normally does not have ornate moriage trimwork. Plates should have matching pieces ie; cups, saucers, bowls etc.

Soon I will be receiving a shipment of more hard to find and interesting pieces of Nippon so make sure to check back often. Until then Happy Collecting and remember “the best is yet to come.”

  

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