made in china – double meaning

This topic contains 11 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Walt 1 month, 1 week ago.

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  • #45487 Reply


    I have a question to ask to all senior member expert:

    if on the bottom of a cup, a jar, a stein etc it is written made in china, how do you know exactly if you mean that the item is made of porcelain or is made in China? I have a Chinese vase inherited from my grandfather, with figures of characters and scriptures in Chinese, which is made in porcelain (different from ceramic or stoneware), but how do you prove that that vase was produced in China? Or rather, what is distinguished from if the meaning made in china does it refer to the material of the pot or to the place where it was built?

    Thank you on advance

  • #45505 Reply


    Since the phrasing “made in” is in English, it means that the item, whatever it is made OF, was made IN China.

  • #45529 Reply



    when we are faced with tea cup sets whose origins are sure are made in Italy but it is written made in china, which means made in porcelain, how do we distinguish? In my opinion it is not so easy to make the distinction.

    In my simple opinion the english word china (when means porcelain) should be erased and the only word ought to be porcelain. This way there wouldn’t be any doubts.

    The problem came out last March when during Covid-19 was claimed that all items made in China (it means in the orient country) there were no problem of spreading infection, but the point is to distinguish exactily what the word china was supposed to mean, if porcelain orny country.

    I believe that if we talk about clothes, food, tools etc with the words made in china, it means without any doubt that they are made in China. But if we talk about porcelain objects, the most logical meaning to attribute is that they are made in porcelain, not in the eastern country.

  • #45533 Reply

    John Piet

    To clarify what Walt said. If a piece is marked “made IN China”, it was made in the country of China. If it is marked “made OF china”, it was made of porcelain.

  • #45544 Reply


    what you told is logic, but let me tell you that I saw hundred and hundred of porcelain pots, cups, vases made IN Italy and none of them were marked on the bottom made OF china.
    Don’t really think either that all Italian manufacturers are so ignorant to make evident grammar mistake.
    I’ve never seen anything marked made OF china.

  • #45548 Reply



    not at all. Bottom of porcelain items are always signed by “made in china”, never signed “made in China” and neither just “China or china”.

    I guess that on the Italian Capodimonte bottom stein we can find the sign made in china, I don’t have any steins of that manufacturer.

    Also French and English porcelain are signed by made in china.

    I perfectly know that screwdrivers signed by made in Germany it means that they were made in the country of Germany, Avon steins (that I got) signed by made in Brazil they were made in the country of Brazil, shirts signed by made in China were made in the country of China etc, I think that all family have a tea pot and cups service in porcelain and if they are of good quality they are signed made in china, not made of china, and it sounds absurd that sign made in china in this case means that they were made in the country of China.

    Do you think it will be possible that all the italian tea an coffee cups signed by made in china they come from the country of China? No sense, absolutely.

  • #45551 Reply


    The term “china,” when referring to the material, is an Americanism. Trust the Americans who are telling you that “made in China” never means “made of china,” it always means “made in the country of China.”

  • #45555 Reply



    a final observation is a must: made in china is never written with the c of china in capital letters, if the name of a nation like China is not worthy of being written in capital letters, there is something wrong.

    In any case, I’ll make a search and will take photos to all cups, plates and vases that are signed on the bottom by “made in china” and, obviously, will try to know where do they come from.

    I feel the sensation that this “made in china” is one ot the not few differences beteween British English and American English, even if it’s hard to believe that in the Usa all the porcelain items not made in China are signed made of china.

  • #45556 Reply


    Let me add a few more thoughts about this. Have you ever seen a mark that reads “made in pottery” (or stoneware, or wood, or pewter)? No, it would read “made of pottery” (or more likely, simply “pottery”). The only reason this question arose is because of the unique double meaning of the word “china” (or “China”). If it says “made in China”, it is Chinese. The more legitimate dilemma is how to interpret a marking which reads “China.”

  • #45558 Reply



    all the interesting conversation are welcome, of course.

    Another question. In British English is correct to say “soccer is the best game IN the world”. Don’t know if in American English is the same.

    There’s a WW Team stein called “Neuschwenstein Castle – King Ludwigs’ Dream – one of the seven modern wonders OF the world”. This way is reported on the COA.

    This is another situation which 1 of the above mentioned sentences seems wrong, but the fact is that both are commonly right.

  • #45561 Reply


    There are always subtleties and oddities of language, but “made in China” means Chinese.

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