Monthly Archives: September 2011

Satsuma Ware



Satsuma Pottery of Japan

Satsuma plate

Satsuma ware originated when the Shimazu prince of the Satsuma domain in southern Kyūshū abducted skilled Korean potters after Toyotomi Hideyoshi's Japanese Invasions of Korea to establish a local pottery industry. 



Satsuma pottery dates back to the 16th century and is still produced today. This region in southern Japan is around the Kagoshima region. The distinguishing features of Satsuma ceramics are they have an ivory, creamy or off-white and sometime beige appearance. The pottery is then hand painted with brightly colored enamels, gold and silver, in fine, intricate designs with careful attention to detail. They typically feature scenes from Japanese life, animals, flowers or landscapes. Gods, Goddesses and dragons are also well represented. The design is then covered with a thin translucent glaze which deliberately ends up with a crackled finish.

The designs also feature a form of decoration called moriage, which is a term used to describe the use of raised enamel on the surface of Japanese Satsuma pottery which lends an added effect to the pieces.

Although the term can be used to describe a variety of types of pottery, the best known type of Satsuma ware has a soft, ivory-colored, crackled glaze with elaborate polychrome and gold decorations.  Similar to Staffordshire in England, the region of Satsuma became synonymous with the product, thus Satsuma ware was produced by a wide variety of artists and kilns over several centuries.

Although the glaze crackling ( called Kannyu ) make the ceramics look more antique in appearance, the effect was used more to give richness and depth to the colours.
The glaze was applied in thin layers and when heated sufficiently and cooled quickly, resulted in small hairline fractures that covered the entire surface.
The style and techniques of the Satsuma potters were highly admired and copied the world over. During the time that these original pieces were made, it was also popular for the potters to make small figurines of Japanese people. These were often caricatures of important people or of the Immortals, who also featured heavily in the decoration of the Satsuma pottery pieces. These figurines are highly sought after items due to the fact that they are rarely seen in the Japanese antiques markets.  There are many other Japanese statues and figures on sale all over the world, but only a handful of them are truly from the region that made the Satsuma name famous and valuable across the world.“Satsuma Gosu Blue” were also produced in very limited quantity in Kyoto in the mid-19th century, and is now the most sought after of the Satsuma wares.



Satsuma tea pot


In 1793, Hoshiyama Chubei and Kawahara Houkou who worked  at the Nagata Kiln at Katano in Satsuma went to Kyoto to learn techniques of Awata Ware  from Kinkozan Sobei III.
From the end of the eighteenth century, ceramics with highly detailed painted decoration in thickly applied gold and colors were being fired at the Naeshirogawa kiln . Typically floral, stylized and geometric patterns were employed. Shishi, dragons and phoenix designs were also frequently depicted. Landscapes and human figures did not appear until the middle of the nineteenth century. The ability to create shades of color was also developed during this period.

Originally Satsuma wares were made for the Japanese household and not for export before mid-nineteenth century. They tended to be small and included tea bowls (Chawan), water jars (Mizuzashi), incense burners (Koros), incense boxes (Kogos), and vessels for flower arrangement (Ikebana).

In 1867 the Shimazu family exhibited their wares at the Paris International Exposition. The wares were well accepted, and a substantial export market to the West became established through this exposition.

Interest in the humble art of the village potter was revived in a folk movement of the 1920s by such master potters as Shoji Hamada and Kawai Kajiro. These artists studied traditional glazing techniques to preserve native wares that were in danger of disappearing. Later the Satsuma style was also duplicated by the potters in Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, and Kanazawa. Stoneware and pure white porcelain were the favored mediums for Satsuma .


Satsuma plate

Square Satsuma plate

satsuma koro with ladies

 Satsuma Koro with Geisha

Satsuma vase Japan

Satsuma vase Japan

Satsuma long-neck vase

Antique Japanese Satsuma long-neck vase

Japanese gosu-blue tripod Satsuma vase

 Satsuma vase of baluster form - Meiji period

Japanese satsuma vase of baluster form Meiji,

Decorated withs mountainous scene, painted in enamels and gilt, the foreground with forests, lakes and waterfalls together with a palace and figures.

Signed: Satsuma yaki Choshuzan

Guest & Gray Antiques


Satsuma ware pottery vase

Satsuma Vase

Small Satsuma Dragon Teapot

 Satsuma Dragon Teapot

Satsuma tea set.

Satsuma Vase 2 Geishas

Satsuma Vase with two Geishas

Japanese dancing girl Satsuma vase

Japanese dancing girl Satsuma vase

Satsuma Vase

Satsuma Vase – height 38cm

Satsuma faceted vessel

Satsuma faceted vessel

Incense burner (koro), mid-17th century, signed Nonomura Ninsei, Kyoto, Japan.  | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Flower motif Satsuma vase

 Satsuma vase with flower motif

Meiji Period, 1868-1912 earthenware teapot

 Photo: Tony Cunha.


Pair of Satsuma Vases


 Large antique Japanese Satsuma pottery covered jar.

Late 19th Century

Satsuma twin handled vase

Large Japanese Satsuma vase with gilt highlights and samurai scene.

( Nadeaus Auctions )

Satsuma Gyokuzan Dragonware Lidded Vase, Kyoto, Meiji

Satsuma Gyokuzan Dragonware Lidded Vase, Kyoto, Meiji

satsuma-jar Samurai battle scene

Satsuma lidded jar with Samurai battle scene


Hand painted Satsuma vase

Satsuma ware vessel

Japanese Satsuma vessel

Large Japanese Meiji Satsuma vase,19th-century

Large Japanese Meiji Satsuma pottery ovoid vase,19th-century


Monumental Satsuma vase


Japanese Art Satsuma Thousand Eyes Cup

Japanese satsuma lidded jar

 Lidded jar – Satsuma Ware

Satsuma plate

Satsuma dish, Japan

Japanese early 20th century hand painted Satsuma vase

  Early 20th century hand painted Japanese Satsuma vase

Japanese Satsuma Teapot Meiji Period RubyLane

Satsuma Teapot Meiji Period with geisha motif

( RubyLane )

Japan Moriage Satsuma vase

Japan Moriage Satsuma vase



Met Museum Ceramic Collections

Founded in 1870 in New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art is one of the world’s largest and finest art museums. Its collections include more than two million works of art spanning five thousand years of world culture, from prehistory to the present and from every part of the globe.  The Metropolitan Museum of Art attracts some five million people a year. This cultural gem is settled close to other historic sites of New York – few steps from the grand Central Park and the ultimate fashionable landmark of the Fifth Avenue.

Naturally they have an extensive collection of ceramics. From Greek & Roman Pottery, Egyptian and Moche ceramics to Islamic, Asian, European and American, all styles are represented. The video slideshow below features the examples of American art pottery, gifted  from the collector Robert A. Ellison Jr. This collection of 250 pieces spans 80 years from 1876 to 1956 and is located in the New American Wing  on the mezzanine level of the Museum’s Charles Engelhard Court . Outstanding works from every major American pottery and many lesser-known but historically significant potteries are featured in the collection.




Here are some other fine examples of ceramics on display:Earthenware Suger pot 1820-1840

Sugar pot  1820 – 1840.  Earthenware with slip decoration. Nth Carolina

Tile with Image of Phoenix  late 13th century  Iran, Takht-i SulaimanCeramic tile with Image of Phoenix, late 13th century

Iran, Takht-i Sulaiman

Jar with frieze of bulls

Jar with frieze of bulls.

Iron Age III  8th–7th century B.C.  Iran, said to be from Ziwiye

This large jar—glazed in green, blue, brown, yellow, white, and black—represents an advanced glazing technique that was in widespread use during the first millennium B.C.

Basin with a Horseman Spearing a Serpent

Basin with a Horseman Spearing a Serpent

Spanish Earthenware, tin-glaze (lustreware) 1390-1400

This is the  earliest example of medieval lusterware in the Museum’s collection, this basin was probably either used as a serving dish or intended only for display. The brilliant coloring and expert craftsmanship of Spanish lusterware made it renowned throughout Europe.

Greek terracotta neck amphoraGreek terracotta neck-amphora (jar) 540BC

Tomb pottery figurineFemale Dancer

Chinese earthenware with slip and pigments

Western Han dynasty (206 B.C.–A.D. 9)

Dish in the shape of Mount Fuji This dish was made in China during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644),  comissioned by a Japanese tea practitioner for use in the tea ceremony.

Porcelain with underglaze blue over white slip (Jingdezhen ware)

Bowl with the Arms of Pope Julius II and the Manzoli of Bologna Maiolica (tin-glazed earthenware)bowl with the Arms of Pope Julius II and the Manzoli of Bologna 1508.

This bowl is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful pieces of majolica ever made. It is profusely decorated with the antique-inspired grotteschi that became popular in the early sixteenth century.

Terracotta stirrup jar with octopusHelladic, Mycenaean

Terracotta stirrup jar with octopus

1200–1100 B.C.

[  For 1200BC the psychedelic octopus on this jar is very futuristic ]

Flared Bowl, 6th–8th century Peru; Moche Ceramic

Flared Bowl, 6th–8th century
Peru; Moche Ceramic
This flared bowl, called florero, has an empty pedestal base filled with small ceramic pellets that rattle when the vessel is shaken. Moche flared bowls were produced from the fourth century A.D.

Chinese cobalt vase

When the west first accessed wares of true Chinese porcelain they seemed magically translucent, resonant when struck, impervious to liquids, aesthetically pleasing with great beauty of form. One of the earliest records of ‘true’ porcelain in the west is pieces listed in Queen Elizabeth 1’s 1574 inventories (pursseline’ or purselyn vessels). Enshrining a precious object was a practice of western Christianity for centuries. Adding gilded mounts offered some protection against the porcelain’s fragility while highlighting the esteem in which they were held. This pear shaped vessel painted under the glaze with cobalt blue has English silver gilt mounts dating from 1580. They comprise a neck mount spout cover with chain, a foliate handle mount and rim plus, an inner domed section within the cover. The painted flowers are lotus and peony interspersed with lozenges, lappets, floral medallions, cloud scrolls and so forth, withlingzhi, the sacred Chinese fungus on the spout symbolising longevity.

Egyptian turquoise bowl

Egyptian turquoise  and the dark blue bowl.

Earthenware pitcher; Redware with slip decorationAmerican earthenware pitcher; Redware with slip decoration. 1821

George Ohr teapotGeorge E. Ohr Teapot  ( 1857-1918 )  Biloxi Mississippi

Dish, Ming dynasty, Hongzhi mark and period (1488–1505)
Porcelain painted in underglaze blue with yellow, overglaze enamels

John Bennet

John Bennett

John Bennet Vase

John Bennett Vase

Container for Magical Substances (Perminangken [?])

19th–early 20th century, Indonesia, Sumatra

Toba Batak people

MEt Museum NYMet Museum  NY



Zsolnay Pottery


The iconic Hungarian art pottery of Zsolnay :

Zsolnay Vase and EwerFor 158 years, the iconic Hungarian company of Zsolnay has been producing innovative  and high quality ceramic wares. What started as a small family ceramics workshop in Pécs in 1853  had grown into a modern factory by the 1880’s, thanks to Vilmos Zsolnay’s long decades of painstaking and dedicated experimentation. Founding father  Miklós Zsolnay originally established the first manufacturing shop of ceramics for his son Ignác. In 1863 the younger son Vilmos took control and expanded into a factory production.


The Zsolnay Porcelain Manufactory


The factory’s first major success was reached at the 1873 World Exhibition in Vienna. On the basis of its product displays, the factory received a great number of orders from England, France, Russia, and even from America. By the 1870’s the  the Zsolnay family rapidly became well-known and highly appreciated in Europe, and the business employed 20 workers.

The family were perceptive and their experimental nature in historical and Art Nouveau styles made the Zsolnay ceramics successful at many fairs and exhibitions (Vienna, Paris, London, Milan, Torino, California US). The success achieved during the 1878 World Exhibition in Paris was tremendous. The jury praised the Zsolnay collection as being unique and gave it the gold medal, the so-called Grand Prix. Numerous buildings belonging to the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy were also decorated with Zsolnay tiles. Prior to the 1890s, the company produced ornate pieces inspired by Islamic pierced wares and traditional Hungarian wares. It was not until 1893, when Vilmós appointed the chemist Vincse Wartha as artistic director, that Zsolnay began to specialize in Art Nouveau-inspired ceramics with crystalline metallic glazes.

Zsolnay fountain in Pecs with sculptured heads

Zsolnay fountain in Pecs


The most famous invention of the factory was the creation of ‘eosin”, a metallic shiny glaze on ceramics. . Their technique of firing glazes at high temperatures remains unique even today.

The Zsolnay production suffered many hardships during the 2 World Wars from problems sourcing materials to having to abandon artistic production for the creation of electrical insulators and the like. Along with  being bombed in the WW2. The incoming Communist Regime , although recognizing it as a National  Treasure , were very restrictive to overseas markets.

After Vilmos Zsolnay’s death, in 1900, his son Miklós took over the management and at the end of 1991 the  factory was upgraded . In 1995 the business was privatised  and the main owner was the Hungarian Investment and Development Bank (MBFB) . The new owner  set a goal of  preserving  the historically significant, long tradition of  Zsolnay and making a profitable plant without changing the product structure.

Zsonlay pottery showroomZsolnay Showroom

The Zsolnay factory today still pursues innovative design and permits designers to conceive beautiful pieces that explore modern expression and utilize their earlier technical and stylistic achievements with organic shapes and metallic glazes. It  has also revitalized  the company’s tradition of creating  architectural ceramics with the production of vividly colored weather-resistant tiles and ornamentation, from statues to decorative clocks , examples of which can still been seen on buildings throughout Hungary.




Zsolnay vase with red tree motifZsolnay Vase



Zsolnay ceramic vase with botanical motifs and ed butterfly motif on a black background

Hand painted Zsolnay vase with botanical decoration



Rich red glaze vase by Zsolnay

Vase Zsolnay Museum



Art Nouveau Figural Compote ZsolnayClassic Zsolnay Art Nouveau Figural Compote.

( John & Rico’s Zsolnay Store )



Zsolnay Orchid Tea Set

 The Viennese Rothschilds  commissioned the company to make a tea  service and  sent an illustrated book on orchids  for the design, which featured a different orchid for every piece in the 24 set.



Zsolnay Vase with eosin metalliic glaze

Zsolnay vase with eosin iridescent glaze



Zsolnay Pottery vase and pitcherZsolnay ( Dr. Gyugyi Collection )



Zsolnay Ceramic Table with geometric botanical patternZsolnay Ceramic Round Table



Mid Century Zsolnay vase

Zsolnay 60’s inspired Vase



Red glaze vessel by Zsolnay

Red Zsolnay Planter



Zsolnay Art Nouveau vase

Art Nouveau vase with pewter



Zsolnay eosin glazed jug

Zsolnay Pitcher 1918 ( John And Rico’s )



Art Nouveau Red Ceramic FireplaceZsolnay Art Nouveau Fireplace



Zsolnay eramic Art Nouveau vase wtih gold snake handleZsolnay Eosin glazed snake vase



Zsolnay Art Nouveau ceramic vase with abstract wrap around handles

Zsolnay multiple handle vase



Zsolnay blue and green Art Nouveau vase with botanical relief decoration

Zsolnay Art Nouveau vase



Zsolnay Antique Art Nouveau ewer

Zsolnay metallic glaze ewer



Zsolnay pottery vessel with butterfly motif

Zsolnay butterfly vessel




Zsolnay tulip sculpture with red flower

Zsolnay red tulip



Art Nouveau red glaze vessel with female figure by Zsolnay

Zsolnay Art Nouveau vessel




Zsolnay cache pot with iridescent glaze

 Zsolnay Art Nouveau cachepot.

John & Rico’s Zsolnay Store



Zsolnay vase with mother and child motif

Zsolnay iridescent glaze vase


Red contemporary abstract sculpture by Zsolnay

‘Thinking’  – Zsolnay contemporary sculpture



Zsolnay red modernist pitcher

Mid Century Zsolnay Pitcher


Zsolnay ceramics vases hunting scenes

Zsolnay ceramics vase with  hunting scenes of Diana the Huntress




Zsolnay Manufactory gardens




Zsolnay Fruit Bowl



GYUGYI-ZSOLNAY- python snake ceramic Zsolnaay sculpture

Zsolnay coiled python sculpture





Zsolnay Table Lamp with Green Taurus Figurine





Zsolnay centrepiece with four female figurine supports





Zsolnay Art Nouveau iridescent glaze vase





Unusual Zsolnay eosin glaze figure sculpture




Art Nouveau mermaid and lover vase – Zsolnay





Turquoise mottled surface vase – Zsolnay





Zsolnay Esoin Three Graces figure vessel

Pinter Auctions