6” Blue Willow Japan Plates. In order to promote sales of Minton’s Willow pattern, various stories were invented based on the elements of the design. The most famous story usually runs as described below. The story is based on the Japanese fairy tale “The Green Willow” and other ancient fairy tales originating in China about the constellations that tell the story of two lovers separated and envied by gods for their love. The lovers can only meet once a year when the stars align. There is an English story about the plates that may or may not have links to China; it was first published as “The Story of the Common Willow Pattern Plate” in the magazine The Family Friend in 1849.
Pieces with Nippon (trans, Japan) on the bottom were made between 1871 to 1921. From 1921 to 1941, the pieces read Made in Japan or simply Japan. Those made between 1948-1953 read Occupied Japan.
These plates are marked “Japan”, which makes these plates nearly 100 years old!