Can you Help Identify this Small Stoneware Vase with narrow neck and bulbous shape?

by John
(Omaha, NE)

Small Japanese looking stoneware art studio pot with narrow neck and bulbous shape with red kanji characters on the black ground with brown speckle decoration and a black kanji pottery marking

Small Japanese looking stoneware art studio pot with narrow neck and bulbous shape with red kanji characters on the black ground with brown speckle decoration and a black kanji pottery marking

Scroll down to below John's post to see Peter's thought processes on this little vase.



Howdy all!
My name is John and I currently live in Omaha, Nebraska.

I recently acquired a small, glazed brown stoneware vase with what appears to be an Asian name or signature on the bottom and four markings or decorations on the side of the vase that look somewhat like a partial circle with an “x” inside. The mark on the bottom of the vase does not seem to be any Chinese or Japanese character that I recognize or can find, but it does look like an Asian mark, name or signature to me – I could be way off on this one.

The vase in question is between two and three inches tall, and about the same width with a small flared opening at the top. It is glazed with two different colors of brownish glaze. The stoneware is a bit thick as would be expected – not thin like a porcelain vase would be. If I had to guess, I would say that this vase is not that old. The unglazed portion of the bottom seems very clean.

Here are my answers to the questions posed in the post box:

- How did you get hold of this item?
I purchased this cute little vase at an estate sale today (06 August 2016).

- What is its history (if you know it)?
No known history. No one could tell me anything about the vase.

- What have you done already to search for info?
I have done a generic google image search online with no success. I tried the image search five different ways:
1. An image of the bottom of the vase with the large flat side up and the point down.
2. An image of the bottom of the vase with the point up and the large flat side down.
3. An image of the mark only (on a white background) with the large flat side up and the point down.
4. An image of the mark only (on a white background) with the point up and the large flat side down.
5. An image of the side of the vase – a pretty much straight on photo.
I tried to an image search on this site but could not figure out how to do so. I did read through the posts on this site and looking at anything that might be a possibility – again with no success.

- What has been your greatest challenge in finding out about it?
Not knowing what the mark is or how to describe it.
Not knowing if I should be looking in the Asian sections or the signature sections or …

- Your frustrations?
Not knowing what the mark is or how to describe it.
Not knowing if I should be looking in the Asian sections or the signature sections or …

- What will you do with it once you know more about it?
Enjoy the vase and accompanying information all the more. While the acquisition of the information I desire (maker and approximate date), would be nice, I purchased the vase because I like and an will enjoy it regardless of the outcome of my search.

- Are you regularly searching for information on your items?
Sometimes, but not too often as I can usually find what information I desire quickly or give up the search.

- Has this website helped you in the past?
This is my first time on this website. I am hoping to learn to navigate and use the site more often.

- If you have a store or ebay shop, give it a mention.
I do not have a store or shop on eBay, but thanks for the suggestion.

Thanks - John

Comments for Can you Help Identify this Small Stoneware Vase with narrow neck and bulbous shape?

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Small Japanese looking stoneware art studio pot with narrow neck and bulbous shape with red kanji characters on the black ground with brown speckle decoration and a black kanji pottery marking
by: Peter (admin)

Hi John

Nice little item. Great submission, thanks. Definitely oriental of some sort, your gut feeling was right methinks.

When I did my power Googling, I saw this type of small vase being labelled as a 'weed pot' - narrow neck, short bulbous shape. Apparently, a big trend in the 1970's and 80's to dry herbs and wild weeds for display (hopefully not for other illegal purposes !!!!).

Next, I looked up incense jars as I have seen small Japanese pots with narrow necks labelled as being part of a Japanese incense set.

It really does look like Japanese type styling on this - it doesn't really look particularly Chinese. But this style of decoration is unfamiliar to me and I couldn't find anything else remotely like it - as a 'style'.

It doesn't obviously fit the better known Japanese styles like Satsuma, Kutani, Arita, Imari, Seto, Kakiemon etc. I can't recognise the marking unfortunately, but you might want to shoot through to Gotheborg.com Japanese marking section and scroll down to see if you can pick a similar mark.

Please report back if you find anything.

Otherwise, it might be Western Japonism, paying homage to everything Japanese, maybe made by a hippy potter in California.

Either way, it's a great mystery query which we need to solve fast.

I favour it being a smaller studio kiln in Japan, active a few decades ago, possibly allied to a retail outlet - which would be pretty well known regionally, but perhaps not so much so internationally. The sort of place a visitor to Japan might to be tempted to buy a tasteful souvenir as a nice gift - or received as a gift from a Japanese friend in that prolific gift-giving culture.

If we could get someone who could read the mark, that would be terrific as this is all guesswork on my part. I would be interested to know how accurate my sleuthing flights of fancy are.

Pleased to have someone chip in on this one.

Peter (admin)

A summary of poeple's ideas via email so far
by: Peter (admin)

Ruth said:

I doubt that the jar is old.

Ruth
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Peter (admin) replied:

Hi Ruth

I was thinking about 1970's or 80's. Is that what you think too?

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Ruth said further:

Hi Peter,

Yes, I doubt it is Japanese though. Probably Chinese.

Best,
Ruth

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Peter (admin) asked:

Hi Ruth

Thanks for your input on this. I am always hungry to learn and pass this on to my readers. Tell me more....

I'd love know your thoughts on this piece. Why do you think Chinese?

Regards

Peter (admin)

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Val offered:

Hi Peter,

I sent the mark to a friend in Japan.

Here's the mystery Japanese stoneware pot feedback, hot from Japan...

Might not be Japanese, looks more like a square with a cross in it. Very stylised writing...

If it is, it reads "rice field"... So could be a sake bottle..... ( Japanese rice wine)

Make of that what you will! 🍷😬

Regards

Val

Thanks
by: John

Thank you everyone for all of the information. It is a nice little pot and I'll enjoy it regardless of the information I have. Thanks again for all of your work and comments.

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