Books For Identifying Satsuma Marks

Finding a good resource for identifying markings on Satsuma Pottery can be difficult. After all, we don't all have a well studied antiques expert in our pocket to ask for advice when we need them.

There are various books you can buy on the subject of identification of Japanese Pottery which includes the Satsuma range of pieces. These books form a good series of reference materials that you can use to identify the designs and styles of Satsuma and also examine the makers markings located on each piece.

Japanese Porcelain 1800-1950

Japanese Porcelain 1800-1950

(Schiffer Book for Collectors)
303 Pages

This book treads the line between a visual reference material for all manner of Japanese pottery styles including Arita and Imari, Kutani and Satsuma among many others. It features amazing full page images of each piece. noting the common styles and points to look out for. It is an excellent book for enthusiasts or trade collectors and sellers alike.

1100 Marks on Foreign Pottery & Porcelain book

1100 Marks on Foreign Pottery & Porcelain

64 Pages

Featuring an excellent guide to finding markings on many different types of Satsuma and other world pottery, the 1100 Marks book will give you the confidence to make sure you are buying the real thing.

the best book on satsumaPossibly the best and most detailed book is called (unsurprisingly) "The Best Book On Satsuma" by Thomas S Kiernan, an expert on Japanese pottery and antiques. Featuring 236 pages of glorious images and markings, each described and translated, this is the book you need if you want to know as much about Satsuma Pottery as possible.This book is quite expensive and only normally available to buy direct from the author in Australia, so we recommend looking for it on eBay where copies of it turn up quite regularly.

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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.