"It always amazes me what miracles can happen with a lump of clay in just the right hands"
You are invited to come along with me as I learn about Japanese ceramics. I will share what I learn about the kilns, history, terminology, potters, decorators, styles, and marks. This is a work in progress.
** NOTICE: I can no longer take readers queries on personal pieces. General comments and questions will still be accepted.
There is much written on Kinkozan which is available on line. I will not give the history of the Kinkozan factory here. I will only say that although Westerners refer to this work as Satsuma, it is not the original Satsuma from the Kagoshima area. Satsuma was produced, mostly for export, in Kyoto and other areas near ports. The quality can vary from excellent to poor, even from the Kinkozan factory. Satsuma wares made for the domestic market are usually more simple, and subdued. Much of the Satsuma for the export market, in my opinion, was rather gaudy and oft times crude, although there are many exceptions to that rule. Kinkozan did produce many exceptional wares. Keep in mind there was another maker that used Kinkozan but the kanji characters were different.
Lee Love was an apprentice for Tatsuzo Shimaoka a LNT of Japan. He makes wonderful ceramics in the mingei tradition. He lives in Minnesota which has a large ceramics community. His wife Jean Shannon is a Woodblock Artist and painter. They make a great creative team.
When people think of Mikawachi and Hirado porcelain wares they generally think of blue and white (sometsuke), however that is not always the case. in the late 19th century to around the turn of the century red was used on very thin porcelain wares. One characteristic of the Mikawachi red, white and blue style was a particular type of red scroll work around the blue and white cartouche, which usually was a mountain, water scene known as sansui, often with figures. Using just red and white with a red and white cartouche was also very common.
I find this type of ware is often labeled as Kutani on auction sites and have even seen it marked Kutani at established auction houses!
Soba choko are small deep bowls used for dipping buckwheat noodles in sauce since the Edo period. Originally they were used for dishes in a formal meal to hold some little delicacy called muko-zuke. Soba choko were made in many areas of Japan but nowhere so prevelently as in the Hizen province of what is now Saga and Nagasaki prefectures. They are usually referred to as Imari as a general term. Soba choko can be blue and white, or multi colored. Certain shapes any styles were made at certain times. Many have a janome kodai or “snake’s eye foot”. The foot is usually unglazed or sometimes just the eye is glazed. The “eyes” are larger during the Edo period. The Soba choko of the Meiji period generally have smaller eyes. Many do not have the snake’s eye foot, so we must look at other factors for dating.
From my collection
Meiji period soba choko with small janome kodai
Meiji period iro-e with sho-chiku-bai or pine, bamboo and plum motif
Although these meiji period cups are likely muko-zuke they are a similar size and have the same kind of center (mikomi) decoration.
I visited the Gallery at Vanderbilt.
From the Herman D. Doochin Collection at Vanderbilt University