Vintage Marutomoware: Made in Japan
One reason I love vintage so much are the stories behind each piece. Did you grow up with something that was just always ‘there’ for as far back as you can remember? I did.
For as long as I can remember this little sugar bowl sat on the back of our stove. It was always empty, but it was always there.
Now it sits on my windowsill, still empty but still there. It makes me smile.
About a month ago while out treasure hunting I came across its mate, and I actually hesitated for one suspended second.
Why did I hesitate? Well, I think the pieces are really sweet, but not my normal style. I was over-thinking the process until I actually connected that we have a connection!
Tip: Never over-think vintage!
Now this little cream and sugar set both sit on my windowsill.
‘And’ I have found a handy use for this little creamer.
You see, we have a small pot of fresh basil that sits by the windowsill.
So I use the creamer to water it, because it’s the perfect size. Every time I use it, I smile.
I’m so happy I took a leap of faith and followed my heart on this one!
With all this nostalgia came a bit of curiosity, so I looked into the history behind these cottage ware pieces.
From what I’ve learned…
These are Marutomoware pieces made in Japan in a little community near Noritake. Early Marutomoware dates back to the 1920s and 1930s, and was marked ‘Made in Japan’. There were also similar wares, ‘Marumon Ware’ and ‘Maruhun Ware’, but along with ‘Made in Japan’ these pieces were marked with a ‘K’ inside a circle and often with Japanese characters underneath.
Did you know that until 1891, goods exported to America did not have to be stamped with their country of origin in English?
It was after this that all exports had to be identified in English, so this meant the Japanese exports were marked with ‘Made in Japan’ as common practice. With WWII that all changed for Japan, and exports during the years of 1945 to 1952, were marked with ‘Made in Occupied Japan’ as a result of the American occupation of Japan. It was only after the Occupation that Japanese exports were marked simply, ‘Japan’.
So, what I can determine (guess) with my pieces is this.
The sugar dish is either a Marumon Ware or a Maruhun Ware piece, because it has the circle stamp described above though the ‘K’ isn’t clear.
I also believe this piece is from the 1920s – 1930s because of the ‘Made in Japan’ stamp. The heavy crazing of the porcelain is also a clue.
Now the fun part is the creamer. I believe this piece is a Marutomoware from the same period, 1920s – 1930s, because it is stamped only ‘Made in Japan’.
Again, note the heavy crazing of the porcelain.
The mystery is, why do these pieces match so well if they are from different companies?
And that, my friends remains the mystery. I don’t have the answer to that – do you?
What vintage pieces do you cherish from your past? I would love to hear your stories, too!
Thanks for stopping by!
Photographs by Sheila Zeller. Please link and credit if you choose to use! 🙂