Born in Seabright, N.J., Mildred Root began collecting Japanese prints at 13 after moving to New York. She met Rafi Y. Mottahedeh, an Iranian-born importer and married in 1929, the Mottahedehs began acquiring Oriental porcelains, ivories, jades and bronzes, amassing one of the world's finest private collections with some 2,000 pieces.

In 1929, the couple founded Mottahedeh & Company in Manhattan, which rose to prominence as one of the most prestigious firms in the reproduction of porcelain, producing some 1,500 different items for more than 3,000 stores, from Tiffany's to small gift boutiques. The company also reproduced pieces in the collections of museums like the Metropolitan and the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris for sale in their shops. Mottahedeh reproductions have graced the White House as well as the reception rooms of the State Department in Washington.

With an eye for good design and a mind for practicality, Mrs. Mottahedeh refused to reproduce a piece simply for its historical significance but demanded instead that the object ''have character and usability.''

When her husband died in 1978, Mrs. Mottahedeh succeeded him as president and remained active in the company, even after it was sold, until her retirement in 1998.