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This open salt (or salt dip) is made of porcelain. It features a hand-painted swan in blue and orange lusterware. Lusterware was popular in Japan.
This open salt was made by Noritake. It is marked clearly on the bottom: NORITAKE, Handpainted, Made in Japan.
Noritake was a Chinese maker who had factories in Japan working for them as well. The Japanese have one of the longest continuous ceramics cultures in the world, with the earliest ceramics dating to around 10,000 BC.
This salt dip is hand painted with a lavender-blue luster hue on the body of the swan, an orange beak and base, and pale orange luster interior. This swan salt is approximately 2.5 inches nose-to-tail, and just over 1.5 inches wide. There is one area of discoloration on the right wing (see photo), a small blue spot near the base at the tail, and a hairline crack in the glaze only on his chest. Otherwise, this salt is in good condition - no chips or cracks. Purple is the color of royalty. How regal to resurrect the use of an open salt at your next dinner party!
During the Middle Ages, when salt was a valuable commodity, salt would be kept on the table in elaborate metal, porcelain or glass dishes as a status symbol. Being granted the favor of sharing the salt cellar of the host was seen as a sign of great respect. The social status of a guest was often measured simply by judging the distance at which the person sat from the master's large salt cellar. This is likely where the expression "worth his salt" comes from.
Salt cellars were replaced with salt shakers somewhere around 1950, but open salts remain very collectible today, and this salt would be a welcome addition to any collection.
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