If you are looking to buy a Satsuma bowl, then you are in for a real treat. These small pieces of Japanese pottery originally made in the 19th century on the southern island of Japan are highly collectible and beautiful items.
The bowls come in various different shapes and sizes and feature the classic and well known style of decoration that has made the satsuma name, method and items like the bowls such as the satsuma buttons popular. In fact, the bowls and smaller items may be less valuable due to their size, but the designs and decoration is often more intricate and beautiful than the larger pieces of satsuma pottery.
The Satsuma style of pottery has been made in Japan for hundreds of years and can be best described as a thin, transparent, cracked glaze over a finely decorated piece of creamy or beige pottery. This style of bowl was also mass produced in the Japanese region and was exported all over the globe.
One of the things that has made Japanese Satsuma pottery so popular is the designs that adorn the surface of the items. It is common for the pieces from the 19th and 20th century to be heavily illustrated and decorated with scenes from Japan featuring people or animals or Japanese landscapes. You might think that a small bowl was not able to be decorated in the way, but the amazing artwork on the Satsuma bowls is amazing. Using gold, raised enamel and minute images, these bowls are amazing collectors items and look beautiful as part of any display.
Some of the Satsuma bowls have handles which might indicate that they were actually used to serve food or store items for carrying. There are also bowls that are larger in design and feature a lid and handles, making them look more like a jar than a bowl.
Due to the number of makers of this style of Japanese pottery, there are many identifying marks on the pieces you will find at auction. Also, as the items were mass produced and also copied by other countries such as China, a good rule of thumb is that if the item says SATSUMA on the bottom - then it is not originally from Japan. Many makers and copiers of the Satuma style thought that putting the word SATSUMA on the base of any fine pottery item that looked as if it was made in the same way or from the same location as all of the other, more expensive bowls, vases and plates that people would think it was authentic.