Satsuma Ware


Satsuma Ware 薩摩焼 Satsumayaki

The Daruma Magazine featured an article on Satsuma earthware in the issue # 45.

Satsuma ware is something between porcelain and pottery. It is produced at lower temperatures than porcelain. Satsuma ware originates from the seventeenth century. The prince of Satsuma in the Southern area of Kyushu Island had established a kiln with the help of Korean potters. Satsuma ware from this time was made of brown clay. In the late eighteenth century Satsuma was so popular that clay from the Kyushu Island was brought to Awata near Kyoto to produce Satsuma ware - now known as Kyoto Satsuma ware.

Most of the Kyoto Satsuma ware was produced for export to Western countries.
The characteristics of Satsuma ware are rich decorations with gold and polychrome colors on a soft, ivory-colored, crackled glaze. Typical for the decoration of Satsuma ware is the use of Gosu blue, a highly saturated blue glaze. The technique of Gosu blue was developed in the nineteenth century.


Satsuma vase
with a Daruma design


The ancient Japanese province of Satsuma was in the southern most part of the island of Kyushu. Its association with the production of pottery and earthenware was well known by the early 17th century. It was at this time that master artisans from Korea were introduced following a series of invasions by Japan of Korea and the impress of artists into service for the Satsuma Shogunate.

This "freshette" of talent was applied to the simple but beautiful vessels for the tea ceremony and subsequently grew in fame throughout Japan's aristocracy. Most of the early Satsuma was simply made and featured a cream colored body with a slightly yellowish glaze that was finely crackled, a hallmark of collectible Satsuma to this day. Highly prized among the noble houses in Japan these fine wares were noticed by the earliest western visitors to Japan.

By the end of the 18th century, Satsuma production had not included porcelains, and was restricted to the local clays and earthenware of the Chawan (tea bowl). However, in neighboring Arita potters had been making finely enameled porcelain wares for many years, primarily for export. In an effort to be more competitive Satsuma missions were formed to scour Japan for techniques of decorating Satsuma ware. It was in Kyoto where these missions were introduced to the enamel colors that had been in use for over a hundred years. These techniques were brought back to Satsuma and revolutionized their wares. By the same token, Kyoto studios began to produce fine, artistic "Satsuma" ware.

Copyright: 2003 - 2006..U Lian Collection
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Food and Dishes from Kagoshima / Satsuma

. Satsuma, Kagoshima Folk Art .



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