Chinese Satsuma Teapot Set – Sugar, Creamer and one Cup

This is another example of imported `Satsuma' items made in China and exported to the West. Coincidentally, `Chinese Satsuma' only began to appear on the market after authentic old Japanese Satsuma began to enjoy a spurt of collector interest, and a corresponding rise in value. In other words, until it became popular and valuable, no one outside of Japan seemed interested in marking items `Satsuma.'

Though these particular pieces were made in the form of a `tea set,' apparently they are not for serving tea, cream or sugar, but to serve `decorative' purposes only. The decorations actually are copies of a similar Japanese decorative motif frequently found on porcelain that collectors gradually began to mistakenly call `Satsuma.' 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. While early Satsuma may bear little or no decoration, the nineteenth and early twentieth century ware that many of today's collectors seek was decorated with gold and hand painted artwork.

Like other examples that will be listed in this shop, it can be seen that the pieces of this set lack the artistic quality of real Satsuma pottery. The application of the background glaze and the important over-decoration appear to have been applied to the listed pieces in a slap-dash, hasty manner. Hits and misses are obvious upon only cursory examination with the naked eye. The female face on the teapot is very modern looking in appearance. And though the mark on the bottom of each piece indicates, `Hand Painted,' decoration has primarily been applied in a factory by a machine, not by an artist's hand.

This set is also made of porcelain. Real Satsuma is always made of pottery, not porcelain. If you have a translucent porcelain article, even if a mark on its bottom says 'Satsuma,' that is not what it is, at all.

No pieces of this `tea set' were permanently marked "Made in China." Only the creamer still bears its easily removable gold foil sticker identifying country of origin. Such stickers may quickly come off when a piece is washed and this too can help allow a new fake piece later be mistakenly identified as old Japanese Satsuma ware.

Be sure to note that the pictures show the teapot still maintains a paper sticker, which warns, "NOT FOR FOOD USE. ITEM MAY POISON THE FOOD. FOR DECORATIVE PURPOSE ONLY". While these types of warning labels remain affixed there is little fear that a buyer would use this new set at the table. But while new items with poorly applied lead based glazes may be properly represented to their first buyer as `only for decoration,' those who buy the same set later may not ever know a warning label was once present. Becoming familiar with the look and feel of these types of new fakes and reproductions can be an important consideration for that reason alone. Even if using a faux antique item to serve tea and crumpets or salad to family or guests might not be the object of a purchase.

Once the paper warning label on the bottom of the illustrated teapot in this set eventually comes off, or the pieces are separated, if any are ever used to serve tea, other liquids, or sugar, they may pose a health risk to the consumer. The reproduction wholesaler importing these sets obviously considered it more important to be sure that their item would appeal to the tastes of Satsuma buyers and collectors rather than being sure that an eventual buyer who might only have a taste for tea would always be warned of any possible danger. Most likely it was the importer who requested their manufacturer to permanently mark each piece, `Hand Painted Satsuma,' rather than, `Not for Food Use Item May Poison the Food.'

Keep in mind, 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 bottom cannot make it something it is not.

The tea pot stands approx. 6.5" x 7" from tip of spout to handle. The sugar stands about 3.5" and the creamer stands at an even 3".

Item ID: 2007RP00042

Modern Reproductions, Fakes and Fantasies


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