Japanese Satsuma

New York, NY -- The earliest Satsuma ware made in Japan's Satsuma province dates from the late 16th to early 17th centuries. Originally, these pieces were of dark gray high-fired pottery covered in a dull brown glaze, occasionally with a carved or stamped design in the clay. They were used as tea wares and every day pieces.

In the very early 19th century, a different type of Satsuma emerged, one of lighter body color combined with the addition of lighter glazes, such as blues, blue-green, iron-red and eventually, gilding. A clear glaze was applied over the light body producing a very fine craquelure, which defined this type of ware. The designs more consistently incorporated brocade patterning, often highlighted by flowers. The decoration was light and sometimes sparse, a direct influence from the Kano School and Kyoto pottery.

In 1867, Japanese arts from the Satsuma province were introduced at the Exposition Universelle in Paris to great success. Satsuma pottery was heavily represented in the exhibition and became much in demand from collectors in Europe and America. From the 1880s to the 1930s, Satsuma production grew. More than 20 large factories were producing Satsuma ware, in addition to smaller, independent studios that produced higher-end pieces. Prior to 1870, no Satsuma was signed or marked, but as production grew during the Meiji Period (1868-1912) so began the practice of factories marking their wares. Satsuma began to reflect Western aesthetics, with designs expanding from simply florals to landscapes, figures, animals and mythological and religious themes, all to appeal to the Western collector.

Today, Satsuma is a highly collectable form of Japanese art. Satsuma ware is prized for its refined designs and exceptionally well executed forms.

Property of a Private Baltimore Maryland Collector

The Asian Works of Art auction on September 10, 2018 features a private collection of Japanese bronzes and Satsuma pottery.  Read More