Satsuma Vase

One of the most collectible pieces of Satsuma Pottery is the Japanese Satsuma Vase.  These pieces of earthenware pottery, decorated with amazing images or scenes from Japanese culture or society are highly collectible and sought after items.

Due to the fact that there was a period of mass production of this type of pottery and that it was copied heavily by other pottery makers during that time, there are many styles of Satsuma pottery on the market that may bear the images and hallmarks of the Satsuma style, buy may be from other locations and time periods.

Read how to check if your vase is a genuine Satsuma piece.

A Satsuma vase can be the term used to describe an oriental style piece of pottery that  has the following characteristics.  The images that are on the surface of the pottery are very small and intricate and will usually feature either people, places, animals, Japanese Immortals or scenes from Japan. 

After the image was hand painted, the vase was then covered in a thin protective glaze which cracked slightly giving another of the satsuma pottery hallmarks to look out for.  Some of the vases also heavily use gold coloring in their design which makes the vase look extra special.

Another of the valuable and more sought after vases are the ones decorated with the images of many people, also known as the 1000 faces design.

Often sold as a pair, some of the Satsuma Vases measure up to nearly a meter tall, but the more common style vase you will find will be around 9 to 10 inches tall.  The vases were often used for Ikebana, the art of formal Japanese flower arranging.

The majority of Satsuma vases will have a lid too which is unusual for an item which we may think would be designed to hold flowers or other plants, but these vases were for purely decorative means.  Some of the other pottery from the same region such as a Satsuma Bowl also featured a lid which some may think is unusual.

The designs on the surface of the vases were mainly created so that the pieces could be used to decorate Japanese residences rather than be practical items.

If you are looking to purchase an antique satsuma vase then ensure that the item is in good condition and has no cracks or chips - or has a little damage as possible.

Due to the age of some of these pieces, it is not always possible to buy items that have no damage at all.  Finding a vase that is very old and also in very good condition is not an easy task.

Also, ensure that the item has no markings or identifying words written in English such as ROYAL SATSUMA, as this will denote that the vase is not a genuine antique.

7 replies on “Satsuma Vase”

I have a vase that has one mark on it. I have been able to identify it as Kinkozan tskuru – date uncertain.
can you recommend a book to help do further research?

[…] The buttons follow the usual method of manufacture that has made the Satsuma pottery very collectible all over the world.  The pottery is of an off white or creamy color and is heavily decorated and covered with a thin translucent glaze which is then deliberately cracked through over heating to give the hall mark look and design to the pottery.  The cracks are known as Kannyu. These hallmarks are the same on a Satsuma Vase. […]

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