Satsuma Tea Set

good example of satsuma tea set

Although Satsuma style pottery can be very old, there are still a number of Tea Sets that were made during this time period.

The Satsuma Tea Sets usually come as a set, often in a wooden presentation case inlaid with a soft material such as velvet or silk.  However, it is also possible that the set may be more modern, which is also something you would need to look out for when buying.

This kind of pottery tea set also features the intricate designs, patterns and images that make the Satsuma style so popular and collectable all over the world.

You may find a set with images of Geisha girls on or minute pictures of plants and flowers.  The images are so tiny and intricate that it is hard to believe that they have been created by hand, hundreds of years ago.  It is also common to find imagery of the Japanese Immortal gods on these pieces - especially the saucers and bowls.

However, these gods of wealth, wisdom and luck are featured heavily on many of the potteries from the Satsuma region and time period.

Many pieces also seem to feature dragons as the motif, with the teapot especially, using the dragon's head and neck as the pouring spout.  It is also common for these pieces to be painted in quite dark colours, using Gosu blue and also lots of gold.

Even though they were designed for everyday use in Japan, it is likely that some sets were merely decorative, or were designed to be presented as gifts, rather than used to drink green tea on a regular basis.

When buying a Satsuma tea set, make sure that you ensure that it is all in place. The set often comprises of a small tea-pot and some small bowls or cups (later on).

Also, make sure that the markings on the bottom of the set are not written in English as this is a good indication that it is not an original piece and could be a copy or a more modern reproduction.


Japanese Tea Set

One of the most common items to collect, if you are interested in Asian or Japanese antiques is a Japanese Tea Set. These delicate, fine items, made from pottery or porcelain are very valuable, collectible and desirable.

Green Tea was first used by religious groups back in the 13th century and since then, tea and tea ceremonies have become very important to Japanese people who still perform them today.  The cups were also used to drink Sake, another popular drink from Japanese culture.  Each of the items in the Japanese Tea Set are handled with great care and cleaned thoroughly before and after use. The ceremony is carried out with certain movements and processes performed at certain times.

The pottery or porcelain used to serve the tea to the guests is usually quite small. The cups or bowls that are used to drink from are only large enough to contain no more than 3-4 small mouthfuls of tea. Nothing like the mugs we use for our coffee. As with other Satsuma Pottery, the items will be highly decorated with images of Japanese life, flowers, wildlife or people. They also follow the same crackling glaze as seen on other items such as the popular Satsuma Vases, but also with a yellowish glaze to them.

If you are looking to purchase a Japanese or Satsuma Tea Set, one of the most important things to consider is the condition. Most tea sets were kept in a wooden box which is inlayed with silk or another soft cloth. Therefore, the items should be well cared for, clean and undamaged. Look out for hairline cracks or chips in the cups and bowls as these will be most likely.

You also need to remember that the Satsuma style was heavily copied throughout the world and therefore, not all "Satsuma" marked pieces are real antiques. Make sure you know what you are buying before you pay.  Another tell-tale sign to look for when buying any piece of Satsuma is that it should have a yellowish glaze to it.  Man,y more modern pieces, appear whiter than they should, which is a good sign that they have been produced using more recent technologies.