This is a Japanese Satsuma box, kogo, circa 1918.
The box is 4 1/8” high and 3 7/8” wide. The box is round and rests on three gold covered feet.
The box is most likely a blank piece exported to the USA for decoration during a time period of 1914 to 1928. The blank Satsuma pieces were mostly decorated by studio artists on the West and East coasts, and some hobbyists. An example of an artist is Annie Cleveland.
I think everything I sell in my shop is beautiful, so I rarely comment on how nice an item or set is, but gosh, this box is really nice. Be sure to look at all of the photos closely.
The sides are black and with intricate designs, so a black ground with layers of black on top to form the designs. I am impressed by the artistry. This type of black ground is referred to as “brocade” in the book by Nancy N. Schiffer, “Shape & Decoration in Japanese Export Ceramics. The author states on page 114 “The great rarity is the solid black background, rarely found in Satsuma ware.”
Around the side of the lid is a band of white, layered with a green vine outlined in white enamel. The top edge of the lid has a gold band. The top of the lid shows a lot of intricate artistry. The top is black and it is black slip or enamel on black, hard to see in the photo, but can certainly be felt with the fingers. There is a male face, beautifully executed, with a gold cap, which is most likely the Laughing Buddha, Hotei.. The bottom is a red-orange color with raised slip or enamel in gold and circles of raised enamel in blue, green and white with red centers. More raised enamel is on the gold cap.
The material composition is a pottery or faience, sometimes referred to as a soft paste porcelain. Typically the color is a soft yellow or soft buff. There is a crackle glaze, which is a glaze that crazes, and a crackle glaze is found on all of the Satsuma ware. This crackle glaze is very tight and hard to see visually.
The rims of the lid and bottom are not glazed. Also, there is a hand painted symbol, or perhaps the number four, on the unglazed rim of the both the lid and the bottom to match the two pieces.
There are marks on the underside of the bottom. There is the impressed word of Japan, which can be found on the blank exported pieces to America. There are two red lines bisecting inside a circle and sometimes this is thought to refer to the Shimazu family. There are black Japanese letters inside a black lined orange oval. I believe the Japanese marks are for the maker and the decorator is an American artist.
There are no nicks or chips. There are some light scratches on the black.
If I identified the box correctly, price guide value in 1981 was around $600 to $800.
Japanese Satsuma Footed Round Canister Box Kogo American Decorated Hotei w Rare Black Brocade Ground w Moriage and Enamel c 1918
USPS Priority Mail
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