Moriage ware piece

by Dr. Lori Verderame

Moriage pieces show the American and European interest in Orientalism in the late 1800s. Typically moriage pieces are hand painted and gilded with gold leaf. These pieces are typical of the objects found in a Victorian home.

Unmarked Moriage ware

Moriage is usually unmarked. So, most people figure if it isn’t marked, it isn’t valuable! Well, that is dead WRONG!

Time and time again, I watch these antique shows on TV with self-proclaimed experts misidentify unmarked ceramic pieces. If I can identify the piece from my seat in front of the TV set just knowing the basic indicators like form and clay color, shouldn’t they know what they have right in front of them?

History and Methods of Moriage ware

China was known by the generic name of Paris because Old Paris or Paris wares were made in several Parisian factories during the 18th and 19th centuries. The items made of Paris (porcelain, yet called china or Paris) were decorated with floral bouquets, raised banding or wet slipware applications. Japanese ceramic wares called moriage were pieces decorated with applied slipware designs.

Several methods were used to achieve the highly identifiable relief effect best known to moriage. The decorative elements were designed separate from the body of the piece and applied to the existing piece or carefully piped on in narrow ribbons of clay after the body was made. The piece’s designs could have been “slip-trailed” or built up by the act of brushing on successive layers of liquified slip (wet clay) to gain the desired effect.

Highly stylized flowers, variations of pastel colors, gilding or gold paint, and applied slip decorations are all characteristics of moriage pieces. The moriage style indicates that the piece referenced the late 19th century interest in Japonisme and the worldwide decorative art interest in exotic designs.

Values for Moriage ware

To provide a general idea of value, depending on several factors some of which are condition and age, a 10 inch high vase in the moriage style may range from $250 to $7,500. This is just for a basic piece. If you have a major piece of moriage, you are sitting on big bucks. As I have seen at my antiques appraisal events worldwide, many of you have moriage pieces sitting in your home. Make sure you know those values before you throw away that ugly vase!

Request an online appraisal of your Moriage piece from Dr. Lori.