Satsuma Vases

From the Latvian National Museum of Art Collection

The Art Museum RIGA BOURSE

Pair of Satsuma Vases. Tomoyama (also read as Hōzan) (朋山). Japan, Meiji Period (1868–1912). Earthenware, polychrome enamel overglaze painting, gilding

Satsuma vasesThe Art Museum RIGA BOURSE

The Satsuma ware, which were created for export, can be recognized by certain features.

Satsuma vaseThe Art Museum RIGA BOURSE

The surface of the item is covered with a fine and transparent lacquer craquelure. The finer the product’s craquelure, the higher the quality.

The item is usually of ivory colour.

Satsuma vaseThe Art Museum RIGA BOURSE

Gilded details are a characteristic.

Polychrome enamel overglaze painting is used.

Satsuma vasesThe Art Museum RIGA BOURSE

The craftsmen began using signatures more actively in the Meiji Period. The signatures were painted by hand, rather than by using stamps. 

One of the most popular symbols which can be seen on Satsuma ware is 山, which means mountain in the Japanese language and is pronounced yama, san or zan. This sign is also portrayed on the items in the museum collection.

Tomoyama (also read as Hōzan) – 朋山, the painter and decorator of the vase, has most likely put his signature on it.

Satsuma vasesThe Art Museum RIGA BOURSE

Irises can be seen on the vases. They flower everywhere at the end of May and in June, clothing Japan in violet colours. 

The iris is considered to be one of the most attractive flowers in Japanese artistic expression. It is portrayed in works of art, described in haiku, used in cuisine, with the flower’s form having appeared for hundreds of years in kimono design.

Irises are also mentioned in historical documents and are considered to have the capacity to cleanse negative energy and to protect people.

The iris was also one of the most widely used motifs in Art Nouveau in early 20th century, a style of Western art, which decorative expression has been influenced by Japanese art.  

The diversity of the Satsuma pottery and porcelain, and Imari export items can be viewed at the Japanese art display in the museum's Asian Art Gallery. 

Credits: Story

Exhibition Curator: Kristīne Milere, LNMA / Art Museum RIGA BOURSE
Photos: Kristiāna Zelča

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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