Chinese Satsuma Moriage Ashtray

This is another example of modern fake ‘Satsuma’ pottery. Strictly decorative Chinese-made 'Satsuma' marked items have been exported to the West in great numbers in recent years. With gilt and moriage (raised slip) decoration and a crackled glaze similar that of authentic Japanese Satsuma ware, this item is instead boldly marked, "Satsuma made in China" in red ink inside a red oval. Authentic Japanese Satsuma pottery distinguishes itself with a finely crackled transparent glaze on a beige or creamy ground. Fine craqueleur of the glaze was done purposefully at manufacture for decorative effect.

Note that while the mark on this item identifies it as 'Satsuma' the shape of the body is modern and it is missing other characteristics one expects for Satsuma pottery. For instance, on close inspection the surface decoration is seen to be rather haphazardly applied. This item was not decorated by the careful hand of an artist like true Satsuma.

Chinese Satsuma sometimes is erroneously described by on-line sellers as ware made in the 1950's, 60's, or 70's. They 'date' their items to try to give them the cache of being 'vintage' and thus to encourage potential appeal to more buyers. But those manufacturing year dates are unsupported by historical fact. Items bearing this particular mark were not made prior to the 1980's. All are by definition, contemporary, not 'vintage' and not 'old.'

It only became profitable to create Satsuma-like items in China and export them to the West after two events had taken place:

1. The post-WWII Cold War period ended (October 1,1949 - July, 1979). This allowed by the 1980's the eventual reopening of commercial trade between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Western countries. 2. Authentic old Japanese Satsuma pottery rose significantly in value and the advent of the on-line sales made that value factor apparent to a wide audience.

Real Satsuma is Japanese-made pottery. Satsuma ware was never originally made in China or anywhere else, only Japan. If a mark or paper label indicates an item was made anywhere other than Japan, it cannot really be Satsuma, even if a maker's mark actually says, 'Satsuma.' Adding that word to a piece of pottery cannot make it something it is not.

The mark seen on this particular item makes very clear the country where it was made. But not all pieces of new fake Chinese-made Satsuma give such obvious indication in the mark that it is not authentic Japanese Satsuma. Search this shop to see examples of other items and marks, some of which are much less overt.

Measures 2 inches tall and 5 7/8 inches in diameter.

Item ID: 2007RP000271

Modern Reproductions, Fakes and Fantasies

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