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Regularly in the world of antiques you find something which deviates from the norm and isn't what you would expect. This hand painted Japanese trio is a case in point. It looks like Satsuma ware and in the Nagoya style, but it carries the mark for Kutani - but only a partial mark, it is missing the first (and perhaps most essential) character. There are a number of possibilities including, being decorated outside the factory in a different area, or a custom commission etc. As with most items, styles were widely copied so out of place items are not unusual. Prior to WW2 factory workers were often illiterate, those painting marks would copy and repeat rather than write from knowledge, which explains the large number of badly written, transposed and sometimes just plain wrong marks found on hand scripted items! So if you have a similar item and it looks out of place with the mark then no need to worry it may well be fine, just one of the never ending list of anomalies of antiques.
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