How do I identify a ceramic figurine?

Written by jon stefansson
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How do I identify a ceramic figurine?
Figurines will usually have a maker's mark printed or stamped in a discreet location. (figurine image by Nerijus Dilba from

Identifying ceramic artwork is usually possible by locating a maker's mark on the piece. Usually found on the base of the work, the maker's mark or stamp is the ceramic equivalent of an artist's signature on a painting. Once you locate the maker's mark, you can discover who made your ceramic figurine in one of several ways. Depending on the maker, identifying a mark should be possible with a little research.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Internet connection (optional)
  • Magnifying glass
  • Camera

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  1. 1

    Search the figurine for the maker's mark. This is usually located on the underside of the piece or on the bottom part of the figurine used to make it stand up. The mark can sometimes be quite small and may require a magnifying glass to be accurately viewed. Some marks come in the form of a stamp, while others may be a word or name of the manufacturer.

  2. 2

    Go to your local library or book store to find books of maker's marks. Use the book to try to identify the mark on the bottom of the figurine. Take a photograph of the mark and surrounding area and bring it with you, instead of the figurine itself.

  3. 3

    Search the internet. Type a description of the maker's mark into a search engine and look up both text and images. For example, the Royal Doulton mark profiling a lion's head could be searched as "Lion's head maker's mark."

  4. 4

    Take the photograph of the maker's mark to an expert on antiques. That person should have access to detailed records and knowledge to help identify the maker of the piece. In some cases, he or she may be able to identify the piece by sight alone.

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