Japanese Meiji Period Satsuma Vase Kinkozan

Signed Kinkozan to the Base

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    Finely Painted with Two Scenes

    From our Japanese collection, we are delighted to offer a fine Japanese Meiji period Satsuma vase by Kinkozan. The vase of tapered globular form with a small tightly pinched neck and rounded shoulders tapers down to the finely potted earthenware circular base. The vase is decorated extensively with a cobalt blue ground and interlinked gilt blossoming flowers surrounding two scenes. One scene features a Bijin (beautiful lady) amongst a flower garden with a cherry blossom tree and chrysanthemums, a single butterfly is flying to the north east corner. The second scene features a continuation of the first with further foliage and flowers off a central tree. The base of the vase is cleverly signed to conceal an original firing fault Kinkozan zo 錦光山. The vase dates to the middle of the Meiji Period (1868-1912) circa 1890.

    Satsuma ware is a type of earthenware pottery originating from the Satsuma province in Southern Kyushu, Japan’s third largest island.

    Kinkozan the Kinkozan family have been associated with pottery dating back to 1645. They went on to become the largest producer of Satsuma ware by one individual company, from the end of the 19th century until 1927 after which the factory closed. By the 1850s Kobayashi Sobei (1824-84), Kinkozan Sobei (artist name Kinkozan IV), started to export his products together with the Kyoto manufacturer Taizan VIII. The main target market was America with their main production period approximately between 1875-1927 under the leadership of Kinkozan V(1868-1927).

    Meiji Period was an era of Japanese history that spanned from 1868 to 1912. It was the first half of the Empire of Japan, when the Japanese people began to build a paradigm of a modern, industrialised nation state and emergent great power, influenced by Western countries and aesthetics. As a result of radically different ideas, the changes to Japan were profound and it affected the social structure, politics, economy, military, and foreign relations across the board. The period corresponded to the reign of Emperor Meiji and was preceded by the Keio era and was succeeded by the Taisho era.

    Cultural Art during the Meiji Period was of particular interest to the government and they overhauled the art export market which in turn promoted Japanese arts via various world’s fairs, beginning in Vienna at the world fair in 1873. The government heavily funded the fairs and took an active role organising how Japan’s culture was presented to the world including creating a semi-public company named Kiritsu Kosho Kaisha (First Industrial Manufacturing Company). The Kiritsu Kosho Kaisha was used to promote and commercialise exports of Japanese art and established the Hakurankai Jimukyoku (Exhibition Bureau) to maintain quality standards. For the 1876 Centennial International Exhibition in Philadelphia, the Japanese government created a Centennial Office and sent a special envoy to secure space for the 30,000 items that would be displayed. The Imperial Household also took an active interest in arts and crafts, commissioning works by select artists to be given as gifts for foreign dignitaries further emphasising the high quality and importance of Japanese art. Just before the end of the 19th century in 1890, the Teishitsu Gigeiin (Artist to the Imperial Household) system was created to recognise distinguished artists. These artists were selected for their exceptionally high quality wares and talent in their own industry. Over a period of 54 years Seventy artists were appointed, amongst these were ceramicist Makuzu Kozan and cloisonné enamel artist Namikawa Yasuyuki.

    Earthenware is glazed or unglazed non-vitreous (absorbs water) pottery that has normally been fired below 1,200 °C (2,190 °F). Basic earthenware is also known as terracotta and it absorbs liquids such as water.

    Measurements 21.5cm High x 11cm Wide (8.46 x 4.33 inches)

    Condition Excellent antique condition, No damage and No restoration

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