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What is the Nao collection?

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

What is the Nao collection and its history as collectible figurines

What is the Nao collection and its history as collectible figurines

The average collector may not know the answer to the question, what is the Nao collection? If that person finds themselves smack dab in the world of collectible items, they will quickly learn that the Nao collection has been recognized for decades as one of top quality lines of porcelain figurines in the world.
Nao was started in 1967 by the Lladr› brothers when they were able to purchase a small porcelain factory just outside the city of Valencia, Spain. The brothers quickly found that if they combined some of the region’s greatest artists and craftsmen they were able to put out a porcelain figurine line that would be the envy of the industry.

The company originally carried a brand name of Rosal and is credited with actually starting the particular kind of shaping and decorating that Nao figurines are now well known for around the globe. In 1975, the company changed its name to Zaphir while also growing and moving into newer and larger facilities where the quality of the porcelain was still kept as high as possible.

When the company continued to see International popularity, especially in the United States, the Lladro brothers decided it was time to give the company yet another name. Nao is reportedly a name that alludes to the sailing ships from way back in the Christopher Columbus days. The name is supposed to convey a return journey to the beginning and seemed like an apropos to a company that was finding renewed success overseas.

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In reality, the Nao collection has actually morphed into a couple of different lines of porcelain figurines that are a combination of completely original works that have not been seen anywhere else and lines of porcelain creations of some of the best loved characters around. The Nao collection includes several pieces that harken back to Disney’s hayday when Bambi and Donald Duck were the most popular characters in the movies and on television.

Nao has also gone a little less mainstream when it comes to recreating popular characters when it comes to their Hello Kitty line. While there aren’t a ton of different figurines to choose from in this particular section, it says something about how much the company has a finger on the pulse of collectors that there is this particular line at all. You are going to be hard pressed to find many other Hello Kitty porcelain collectibles from other producers.

The most popular pieces from the Nao collection are the ones that are truly original and these are also where collectors appreciate real proof that genuine artists and craftsmen are creating works of art. Every piece seems to have a different look and feel from one another. There are certainly some themes and small details that are similar, but you can find pieces that look quite a bit like they might have been made with the models sitting right in front of the artist. Others look quite a bit more like they are going for an expressionist bent.

The collection isn’t huge. This is not a line that is being churned out as quickly as possible to make as much money as humanly possible. There is real effort and love put into these creations and that means that they have a look you aren’t going to find with some companies that are only looking to cash in on the cache that porcelain collectibles can carry. That is just one of the reasons why the company has managed to be successful and survive for as long as it has in such a temperamental market.


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