This wonderful Nippon matchbox holder with attached tray, produced by Noritake circa 1915, features a hand painted scene known as "Cleopatra's Barge", depicting the tranquility of sailing vessels against an exotic landscape rendered in sunset shades of red and gold, topped with a beautiful green and red floral and green and black rim and edge trim accents.
Condition is good, with a .75" section at the top outside edge which has been reattached and is only obvious under close examination, otherwise free from chipping, cracking, crazing, discoloration or restoration, with minor age-appropriate wear and production glaze inconsistencies.
Marked with the green Morimura wreath backstamp used circa 1911 - 1921.
H 3.25", D 5"
"In 1876 Baron Ichizaemon Morimura IV formed a trading company called Morimura Kumi (Morimura Brothers) with offices in Tokyo, and a retail and wholesale office in New York for the export of traditional Japanese products such as chinaware, curios, paper lanterns and other gift items. Ichizaemon Morimura VI was a visionary and a supporter of a modernization of Japan. One thing he clearly saw was the business potential if the quality of Japanese art and skilled craft could be adapted to the needs and taste of the American consumer. A visit by Ichizaemon Morimura IV to the World Fair in Paris helped shape the idea of trying to manufacture a high quality, modern, western style dinnerware for export. On January 1, 1904 the Nippon Toki Kaisha Ltd - the forerunner to the present Noritake Company - was formed. The factory was located near a source of good and plentiful raw materials in a community rich with skilled potters. The site was the small village of Noritake, near Nagoya, the center of Japan's ceramic production, on the main island of Honshu. The first Japanese registry for a Noritake back stamp is reported as 1908 for use in Japan. In 1910 the first china products from the new company could leave Japan for the U.S. The first reported U.S. registry for a Noritake back stamp for importing is 1911. With the 1st World War came the understanding of the need for industrialization. The company soon undertook the production of necessary machinery for the use in its potteries and could, by the early 1920's, introduce assembly line techniques allowing for mass production of high quality, yet affordable, dinnerware."