Dating satsuma ware

Awaji pottery was made on the Japanese island of the same name between and Awaji pottery comes in an abundant variety of shapes, colors, and decorative techniques. The glazes are often brilliant in tone and most are translucent and finely crackled. The ware is sometimes mistaken by the uninitiated for European majolica or American art pottery. Unlike majolica and the vast majority of Western art pottery, most Awaji pottery is robustly hand-thrown, with only small and complex forms molded.

Some of the earlier ware is delicately potted, but the majority of Awaji-ware is more stoutly constructed and pleasantly balanced. The Awaji potters were masters of their craft who had an innate feel for the possibilities of the clay form.

The result of their efforts is a pottery of exceptionally lively forms that have an informal and genuine feel, devoid of fussiness and pretension. The ceramic body or paste is made of high-fired, white or cream colored clay that borders on stoneware. The formula apparently changed over time and varied from pink or buff, to white to grey. The glazes are lead based which gives the colors brilliance and makes the translucent enamels glassy and often iridescent.

The most common Awaji glaze colors are a grass green, yellow that can range from pale lemon to deep amber, cobalt blue, and aubergine. Other glazes are a light green, dusty blue, light and dark turquoise, mirror-black, and burgundy. The Awaji potters were adept at creating unadorned monochromes, two-tone glazes, three-color glazes sancai , incised decoration most commonly featuring irises , and applied relief decoration.

The island is known for its beautiful scenery and quaint fishing villages which have attracted artists seeking retreat and inspiration for centuries. The narrow channel between Awaji and Shikoku is the site of the dramatic Naruto whirlpools featured in Japanese legend, which are caused by the tidal flow in and out of the inland sea.

Awaji is now connected to Honshu by the Kobe-Awaji Bridge, which is the longest suspension bridge in the world. Minpei was an energetic man of some means with wide ranging interests. He is known to have been a doctor, a talented writer, a renowned chajin tea ceremony master , a soy sauce factory owner, and run a large fishing cooperative before devoting all of his energies to ceramic manufacture. In , Ogata Shuhei, a highly esteemed Kyoto potter, came to work with Minpei for two years.

A wide variety of fine wares were made in the fifty years which followed. The kiln was known for fine Satsuma-type pieces in the Kyoto or Awata style with elaborately glazed geometric designs and aptly executed foliage and wildlife.

Minpei also mastered underglaze-blue decoration, carved celadons, ceramics that cleverly imitated bronze vessels, and bright yellow and green monochromes with incised designs. In , the provincial Daimyo, or Governor, came to visit the operation and granted Minpei an official kiln status. Minpei retired in , leaving the kiln to his son Rikita and nephew Sanpei. Though Sanpei did not begin production at his own kiln until about , his operation quickly became the larger of the two.

Some of the artists in Awaji evidently maintained a relationship with their counterparts in Kyoto. Pieces from each region continued to share similar raw materials and processes as well as nearly identical forms, glazes, and decorative techniques. They each used cream colored pottery clay with brilliant enamel glazes, fired to approximately the same temperature. Each used the point bottle form and the popular squared buttress handle form. As the export market developed Awaji pottery evolved from a distinctive regional style intended for domestic consumption to a pottery influenced by international tastes and markets.

Despite this influence from outside pressures, the Awaji pottery retained its unique regional flavor. The forms became simpler and more organic; the decoration parsed to a spare and bold, but still spontaneously confident manner.

Bright green, yellow, and blue glaze grounds were used both as monochromes to show off the forms, or as grounds under carved, incised and applied decorations highlighted with other blending and contrasting colors.

The Awaji potters were obviously aware of the International art movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In response to the Art Nouveau style they used sensuous, organic, forms with sweeping curves and handles. These forms were accented by two tone glazes which melted into one another with hypnotic effect.

These forms gave way to the boldly geometric style of the Art Deco movement. These are characterized by architecturally squared buttress handles and feet, along with rocket and other space-age forms. The Deco then gave way to the Modern Movement. The pieces made during this last long movement are some of the most interesting of the Awaji output. The two kilns closed in as the export market dropped off preceding World War II.

The vast majority of pieces here in the West were probably intended for export beginning about Some pieces, based on style, could be earlier, but it is difficult to be certain. It is also unclear when the Danto chidori and the Sanpei flag mark were first put into use. Export marks provide some guidance with dating. The Danto Company did reopen after the war as a commercial ceramic tile manufacturer, but never made art pottery again. Keramic Art of Japan. Henry Sotheran and Co. The Bauer Collection of Japanese Ceramics.

Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd. Wyman and Sons, Japanese and Oriental Ceramics. Haber and Faber, Catalogue of the Morse Collection of Japanese Pottery. Japanese Ceramics of the Last Years.


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