Pottery mark Query on Ornate Oriental/Asian Looking Jug Pot and 4 cups and saucers

by Frank Bird
(Cardiff, Uk)

Pottery mark Query on Ornate Oriental/Asian Looking Jug Pot and  4 cups and saucers

Pottery mark Query on Ornate Oriental/Asian Looking Jug Pot and 4 cups and saucers

Pottery mark Query on Ornate Oriental/Asian Looking Jug Pot and 4 cups and saucers:- Found in my fathers collection. I was wondering what you could tell me about this set. The hand detailing seems quite labour intensive and meticulous.



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antique china values

The forum Help Elf says:-

This is an example, I think, of 19th Century Japanese Satsuma ware. Some sales descriptions describe this a Satsuma Dragonware.

Some experts get quite sniffy about this ware, despite how much hand work has gone into the making if it and that it may well be genuinely antique in some cases. I have seen it listed in a certain websites articles as 'unloved antiques' as it is not rare and many examples are available.

However, I quickly looked up some examples of this ware at auction hammer price sales (not eBay, but proper auction houses offline) and saw that in the past few years over many hundreds of auctions over the past few years all over USA, UK and Europe, not that many had been put up for sale - so not that common then.

When I put in the search at the auction houses for "Satsuma tea set" most examples looked like your Japanese Dragonware to me. 82 tea sets had been sold between $100 - $500 USD. 49 had sold at under $99 USD and 16 had sold at between $500 and £1500 USD.

Unloved?..... Doesn't seem that way to me.

How did I do this research?

Read and digest this page to find out...

Researching the identity and value of antique and vintage fine china

There is a difference between and antique dealer or website or ebay seller whacking on a big ticket price and a set actually selling for top dollar at a hard nosed
auction-house sale.

So just a bit about Satsuma ware.....

The characteristic of this Satsumaware is that it has many layers of enamel moriage decoration depicting Japanese people in traditional costume and scenes from Japanese life.

Peter wrote an article on this subject from the perspective of an ordinary person (a non-expert) trying to get to grips with this complex subject of Japanese ceramic history.

To access this article just go to one of the in-house search boxes and put in the search term;

"1867 Satsuma ware Paris Exhibition"

and you will find this article at the top of the non-sponsored listings.

To summarise, it seems that the "Satsuma style" is a style of Kutani ware. Kutani is an area in the northern part of the district of Kyoto, well known for a long history of ceramic production. The literal translation of the Japanese word 'kutani' is 'nine valleys'. Kyoto is a city as well as a district (or 'prefecture').

Kutani now seems to have become a generic nomenclature for several styles of pottery coming from that general region - and other bordering regions that have been influenced by the the Kyoto/Kutani ceramicists skills. An example of one such neighbouring region would be Kaga. Kaga is a town and area in a separate prefecture to the north west called Ishikawa. This whole district used to be called Kaga Province, but the name was changed to Ishikawa.

19th century Satsuma that is well made does have a collectible value, but bear in mind, it was made for export and many families have been keeping it displayed in cabinets or under safely wraps, so there is quite a lot of it around still. Also the majority of what we have in the West from the 19th Century are copies of older styles, so although antique in their own right are reproductions.

For general free advice on how to research your collection, Peter wrote this page:

value of antiques.


Comments for Pottery mark Query on Ornate Oriental/Asian Looking Jug Pot and 4 cups and saucers

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Found This Mark

by: Peter (admin)

I found this mark on Gotheborg, which he dates to the mid-20th century, but he doesn't translate the symbols literally. The image of the mark posted above is upside down, btw.

The three marks going clockwise from the top are:-

The circle with the cross in the middle is the standard Satsuma identification crest of the ruling Shimazu family. The next mark might mean simply Japan (my tentative reading). The mark on the bottom left says "Zan" (which as far as I know means 'continuous' or 'ongoing' or 'not stopping').

There are lots of Satsuma makers marks ending in "zan" - such as Taizan, Seikozan, Hekizan, Hyakuzan, Gizan, Jizan, Kinkozan, Bizan, Choshuzan, Fuzan, Jukan, Kazan, Kizan, Gyozan, Gyokuzan etc

So this mark may simply be reading thus:-

"Shimazu Satsuma Japan without end"

Another Satsuma Dragonware Tea Set (with a different mark)
by: G Fitzgerald, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada



I received as an early inheritance from my Mother a tea set that she received from her grandmother who was given it by her husband (my mothers grandfather) on his return from Indonesia. From what my mother remembers her grandmother telling her when she received it, she would have been approximately 1 years old, so that would be 79 years ago.

It had been in my mothers china cabinet for as long as I can remember at least 45 years and now sits in mine for the past 5 years. We have wondered for years how old it actually is and from where it came.

So I decided it was time to start a search (would like to know before my mother passes, not that this is happening anytime soon :) ). I have been unsuccessful on my own so am hoping that you can help!

I have attached some pictures of the actual tea set and the markings on the bottom of teapot and the markings from the bottom of the saucers.

The tray that it sits on we are not sure if it came with the set or not, there are no markings on the exterior of it and I really don't want to unscrew anything unless absolutely necessary.

There are no words just symbols on the pieces.

Thank you for any help you can give us!

G. Fitzgerald


Reply by Peter (admin)


Thank you for posting this submission. I have moved it the this thread, as together these posts will build a nice picture for us.

Please remember at all times I am not pretending to be any kind of expert in Japanese wares - far from it.

However, I am keen to help as best I can.

This mark appears, to my limited grasp of Japanese markings, to say something very akin to "Kinkozan" (a famous old family dynasty of potters who produced from 1645 to 1927). It does not bear the normal Satsuma crest of the ruling family Shimazu (a circle with cross in the middle).

It does very closely resemble a dragon Satsuma set shown on Gotheborg which was dated to be before the 1920's bearing a similar styled mark but with slightly different kanji characters and the Shimazu circle crest saying something like 'Futaji'

So what does all this mean? Your guess is as good as mine....

At least we are putting together clues.

Peter (admin)

Peter you rock, enjoy the obvious thought you put forth!
by: Anonymous

Tea set pictured is stunning! I have so much appreciation of the patience and skill, not to mention the investment of ones time required to produce these works of art.....considering these things leaves me thinking one word - Priceless.

Want to buy satsuma tea set
by: Anna

Hello all,

I want to buy satsuma dragon ware tea set. If you have, please contact me at originalvietnam@gmail.com



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