Fake Chinese Satsuma bowl

This is an example of new porcelain and pottery items marked 'Satsuma Made in China' that have began to appear on the market in the past few years, fast on the heels of a somewhat dramatic rise in prices for authentic Satsuma.

This piece is approximately 13 inches across by 8 inches wide, and is about 5 inches deep. Its quality is not that which one would expect to be present on an authentic Satsuma pottery piece. Neither is the factory applied decoration the individual expression of a skilled artist. For example, note the lack of uniformity in the moriage (raised enamel decoration) and haphazard application of the printed design. No artist carefully and lovingly applied any of this decoration. Observe the contemporary ink stamped numbers, too, seen just below the over-glaze stamped mark that indicates "Made in China." While these may not be found on all such Chinese manufactured newer items, there presence on this one is a sure clue to present day manufacture.

Satsuma has been made in Japan for hundreds of years. It is primarily identified by a finely crackled transparent glaze on a beige or creamy ground. This fine craqueleur of the glaze does not necessarily help to grant a ready assumption of great age for any individual piece of Satsuma, but rather it was done on purpose at manufacture as a decorative effect. While the earliest Satsuma pieces may bear little or no decoration, the nineteenth and early twentieth century ware which many of today's collectors seek may be expected to be decorated with much gold and distinctive, highly enameled hand painted artwork.

Satsuma is and always has been entirely Japanese pottery. It was never originally made in China or anywhere else, only Japan. If the mark you see on the bottom of a piece indicates it was made anywhere other than Japan, it cannot be Satsuma. Printing the word 'Satsuma' on the base of an item cannot make it something it is not. Neither does strategic use of a word make an item old or of high quality, although suggesting these states is the reason many contemporary manufacturer's add words that do not apply to the objects they are selling. Some articles of Japanese make may have the world Satsuma in the mark, too, but always with the identification of the country of manufacture as Japan. If the word 'Satsuma' is included in the mark on a Japanese-made item, this will be an indication of 20th century manufacture.

Remember, Satsuma is a type of pottery, not porcelain. If you have a translucent porcelain article, even if the bottom is marked 'Satsuma,' that is not what it is, at all. The body of Satsuma ware (the clay) is of a non-translucent pottery type which may be buff or creamy colored. This can be observed on the unglazed area of the foot rim.

The easiest thing to always remember will be this - all Chinese made 'Satsuma' marked items are contemporary fakes with no current collector value.

Item ID: 2007RP00031

Modern Reproductions, Fakes and Fantasies


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