Satsuma Exportware was made by thousands of skilled and unskilled potters and decorators working for hundreds of smaller and bigger kilns, studios and workshops all over Japan. Most of them are anonymous and will remain
anonymous for ever. Of those who have signed their worked at least we have a name, but often that is the only thing we know about the maker. Only of very few artists there are biographical data available and even about the life and work of some of the very
best artists is not so much known. In this section we’ve tried to collect the data of some prominent or otherwise remarkable makers of Satsumaware. Although the true joy of Satsuma is in the beauty of the item itself, it is for a collector
always interesting to know a litlle bit more about the maker. Biographical data can also be useful to relate an item to the period in which it was created.Knowing that Taizan Yohei died in 1922 means that there is nothing made by him after 1922. Knowing
that Taizan closed his kiln in 1894, means that all items with an impressed Taizan potterymark was made not later as 1894. It also means that items with only a painted signature without impressed pottersmark or marked by another pottery, probably was made
between 1894 and 1922. Combining data can therefore be useful in evaluating the age of an item. Since there were thousands of artists working in the Satsuma-industry, compiling this list is like telling a never-ending story.If you think you can contribute to telling this story, please let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE LIST OF PROMINENT & REMARKABLE MAKERS OF SATSUMA WARE WILL BE UPDATED REGULARLY.
THIS IS PART
You will find here some information about:
KUSUBE (Kusube Sennosuke)
KUSUBE (Kusube Yaichi)
TOZAN Ito Tozan
Ito Tozan I (1846-1920)
Tozan II (1871-1931)
Ito Tozan III (1901-70).
The Ito family spanned three generations. Ito Tozan I (1846-1920) began his artistic career studying painting in the Shijo manner under Koizumi Togaku
before moving to the plastic arts under a number of teachers, including Takahashi Dohachi. He worked very closely with his son in law, Ito Tozan II (1871-1937). He too started his career as a painter, but his talent was seen by Tozan I, who converted him to
pottery where he excelled as a member of one of Kyotos most well known pottery families. The line unfortunately died with the third Tozan in 1970.
Ito Tozan I. Vase decorated with the imperial symbols of 16 petal chrysanthemum and Go-shichi Nobori Kiri among over-glaze bamboo and floral designs
Ito Tozan I (1846-1920)
Ito Tozan I is the go or art name of Ito Jutaro (1846 – 1920) who started as a painter in the Maruyama school and was trained by Koizumi Togaku. In 1862 he became a
student of Kameya Kyokutei, Takahashi Dohachi III, Taizan Yohei IX and Kanzan Denshichi. At the end of the Edo shogunate in 1867 he opened his own kiln in Eastern Kyoto and started a flourishing business in the manufactury and export of dinnerware
and accessories. He made an effort for the revival of Asahi ware and improvement of Awata ware and began to use the name Tozan around 1895.
Ito Tozan I was very successfull and he received many appraisals. From 1883 and later he won awards in
Japan as well as abroad at the Amsterdam, Paris and Chicago World Expositions. He also was honoured by the Imperial Court and like his teacher Denshichi, he created the dishes for the Imperial family. In 1899 he was given the Medal with Green Ribbon
and in 1912 he received gold and silver seals and another name of "Tou-Ou" by Prince Kuninomiya, the father in law of emperor Meiji. In 1917 he became a member of the Imperial Art Academy, one of only five potters ever given that title,
Tozan worked very closely with his son in law, Ito Tozan II (1871-1937) with whom he started to make Zeze ware. In 1920 shortly before his death, he completed the Tozan Studio with new killns to the foot of Mt.Kagamiyama of eastern Kyoto.
Ito Tozan II. An oviform "Arts and Crafts" style vase with short straight neck, decorated in the manner of a design by William Morris.
Ito Tozan II (1871-1937)
Ito Tozan II was born as Shinsuke, the fourth son of Hisakuni Honda whose family served as advisors of the Zeze domain. The Zeze domain was famous for its pottery known as Zezeyaki.
Its kiln was established at the beginning of the 17th century under the patronage of the feudal lord and influential tea master Kobori Enshu (1579-1647). Zezeyaki has a blackish brown iron glaze and the tea ceremony utensils were much appreciated among
other feudal lords and the kiln enjoyed many years of success before closing at the end of the 17th century due to financial issues.
Shinsuke married the daughter of Ito Tozan I and upon joining this illustrious family of potters, took his new name
Ito Tozan II.Having previously studied nihonga (Japanese style painting) his innovative motifs added an elegant and artistic flair to his pottery. Along with his stepfather and other artists such as Shunkyo Yamamoto (1872-1933), they re-established
the Zeze pottery studio and named it Zeze Kagerōen (The shimmering garden of Zeze). Tozan II , like his s father in law, was trained as a painter, but his talent was recognized by his predecessor and he was brought in to be trained and take over
the family lineage Tozan II expanded the family name to become quite popular in porcelain. With only 17 years of production, works signed by him are rare. He was succeeded by his son Tozan III (1900-1970).
Ito Tozan III. Vase in a tall, cylindrical form opening to a squared and flaring mouth, the sides decorated with long lines of snake grass in blue, green, bronze and gold.
Ito Tozan III (1900-1970)
Ito Tozan III, the third generation of the Ito Tozan line of potters learned pottery from his father Ito Tozan II (1871-1937) and his grandfather Ito Tozan I (1846-1920) from a very young age. He also graduated from
Kyoto Picture School and worked as an assistent in the kiln of Hamada Shoji.
Tozan III received many prestigious awards during his years as a potter and has the distinction of having his pottery held by the Imperial Household. He was a meber of
the Modern Industrial Arts Association and was given a special selection at the Imperial Academy’ s Art Exhibition in 1933. In 1938, one year after the death of Tozan II he took the Tozan III. He died in 1970, ending the line of the Tozan potters
Not much is known about the
life of Takeuchi Chubei but he is considered to be one of the ceramics master of Meiji time. He was born in 1852 and worked in Nagoyama where Seto made products were painted on such a large scale that Nagoyama became a hallmark of Seto's export ceramic production.
Takeuchi Chiubei's ceramics shop which opened around 1887 only lasted for a few years and closed in 1890. The work of Takeuchi Chubei is for two reasons important in history of japanese ceramics. He was the master of Totai-
that is cloissonne on eartenware or porcelain, and he invented te Ishime-yaki-also called ‘Sharkskin’ decoration on which the body has a rough but very fine structure.
Takeuchi Chubei, lidded jar in Totai Shippo technique.
Totai-ware, also referred to as Totai-shippo (or Jiki-shippo when silverdreads are used) is cloisonné on ceramics . It has the appearance of metallic cloisonné
ware, however some parts of the surface might be left decorated as normal porcelain. Cloisonne is a technique where metal edges are applied to the surface to keep the different colors of enamel separated from each other. On normal cloisonne copper is
used as the body on wich the metal dreads and the enamels are layed, but in Totai-shippo the body is earthenware. The process of making cloisonné begins with the porcelain or earhenware base formed into different shapes of vases, jars, and bowls, to
which flat bronze wires are then affixed in decorative patterns. Enamels of different colors are applied to fill the cloisonné or hollows. Because earthenware and metal expand to varying degrees after firing, it is extremely vulnerable. For this reason
Totai Shippo products were only made for a short period of time, around 1880 and after a short period of ten years discontinued because of the difficulty in producing specimens that were not flawed or damaged in manufacture. Specimens of high quality
and in excellent condition are very difficult to find. It was produced at Shippo-Gaisha factory in Nagoya, in the Aichi prefecture of Honshu, Japan. Takeuchi Chubei was one of the most prolific artists associated with Shippo Gaisha who produced totai
Cloisonne on metal as silver, bronze or copper was mastered well before Takeuchi Chubei but he has perfected the process of Totai-shippo and is considered the master of Totai-ware, and some scholars even believe that he was literally
the only artison who could master the extremely difficult process so perfectly.
Takeuchi Chubei. A sharksin-glazed vase of rare form, decorated with various mons (crests).
Another special type of decoration is called “Ishime-yaki” or “Sharkskin” on which the body has a rough but very fine surface. It has the look of satin but
feels as fine sandpaper. Sharkskin glazed decoration was invented by Takeuchi Chobei) who got a patent for it in 1882. He always signed this ware with the patent number 二二五二五一五" (2252515) and his name Takeuchi.
Its tactile surface earns it the name
'sharkskin', but it also is known by the trade name 'Coralene'. The rough surface was created by painting the pottery and then sprinkling it with a powder of special transparent fluxes that melts over low heat. The texture of this stone suppresses light reflection,
combined with light blue and light red tones that are blown onto the substrate, creating a unique beauty with a light and soft atmosphere. Due to its cost, Japanese sharkskin porcelain was made only for a short time during the late 19th and early 20th century.
Seikozan. Interior scene of a kogo, depicting a shintoshrine festival.
SEIKOZAN Seikozan [working in Meiji period]
Seikozan is one of the most famous and valued suppliers of Satsuma products.
He owes his fame to the exceptional refinement of his products, with a meticulously painted representation of daily life in ancient Japan. His fame contrasts strongly with what is known about his life, and that is no more than that he probably came from Kobe
and worked in the Meiji era at the end of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th century. The fact that Kobe in that time was a centre for traders and dealers rather then a centre of artistic activity as well as the fact that so little is known about
Sikozans life or his studio is reason for Louis Lawrence to assume that Seikozan is not the name of an artist, potter or studio, but a trading house that produced or ordered high-quality products on commission. He further assumes that the Seikozan, who worked
for the Yasuda company (his signature is frequently found together with the Yasudo logo) is a different person than the Seikozan referred to here. He bases that on the manner of signing, although we do not find these differences convincing. Lawrence also describes
Seikozan as "an exceptional artist whose work is consistently good" which is contrary to the assumption that Seikozan would be a Trading House. Gisela Jahn also seems to assume that Seikozan was a workshop, an "etsuke", therefore a decoration studio that received
glazed but undecorated Satsuma products from kilns in the Kagoshima region. In any case, it is striking how little information is available about the life and background of Seikozan, who can be considered one of the most important makers of Satsuma because
of the quality of his work.
Some examples of Seikozans exceptional work.
Overglazed tea leaf jar with design of temple in mountains Important Cultural Property. Nezu museum NEZU MUSEUM
NINSEI Nonomura Ninsei
in 17th centrury
Nonomura Ninsei was living and working in the 17th century, but exact data are unknown. He was born as Seisuke Nonomura in the village of Nono in Tamba, an old
province partly near modern Kyōto Prefecture and known as a pottery making center. The name Nonomura is derived from his birthplace Nono, the name Ninsei from Ninna ji Temple where
his kiln was located and his real name Seisuke , so he became “Nonomura Ninsei.” He studied ceramics and glazing techniques in Seto before he moved to Kyoto around 1647. Here he established the Omuro kiln near the front gate of the
Ninna ji temple. In his work he was a student of and influenced by Kawamori Sowa (1585-1656), learning and developing a style of ceramics known as ‘Kirei-sabi’. Ninsei adapted existing styles to create works of color and refinement that Kawamori
promoted. Nonomura Ninsei used white stone ware and enamel over-glazes to conjure works that still have a major influence to modern Kyo ware style of Ninseiyaki, known for their colorful overglaze and gold decorations, as well as their refined
Kyoto-style patterns. Until his appearance, the Kyo-yaki works (including Awatayaki) were only with glaze, or under glaze painting (Sabie-sometsuke); drawn with rusty color and cobalt blue paint. Ninsei introduced the technique of over
glaze painting using with red, blue, green, purple, gold, and silver colors. For his decorations he used traditional themes such as waves or foliage, and then applied splashing glazes ofte using a counter-drip cross flow by turning the object over. Ninsei
also used motifs from inktscroll painters as Muromachi to create masterpieces in his own style. Nonomura Ninsei is considered to be the first potter who included not just the name of the kiln but the seal of the artist on his pottery to designate his
The beauty of his colorful and elegantly shaped ceramics, especially his chatsubo (tea jars) were celebrated, and his attention to fine detail and brilliant use of design was cherished by many of the feudal lords and court nobles. No single potter
has a greater influence on later Japanese pottery, and his work only can be seen in the musea as Important Cultural Property. Ocassionally a Ninsei signed work is offered at auction, referring to the imprinted Mark what is underneath. Be aware
that Ninsei style objects signed with his seal were already made in late edo and early Meiji period, as is mentioned by James Lord Bowes (Japanese Marks and Seals- 1882). So these objects can be old, but certainly not made by the master.
Some examples and the seal of Nonomura Ninsei.
Ogata Kenzan: A crackled cream glazed plate with chrysanthemum and poem in brown; the outer rim with conventional floral diaper in blue
KENZAN Ogata Kenzan (1663- 1743)
- 尾形 乾山
Ogata Kenzan was born in Kyoto in 1663 into a rich merchant family. His real name was Shinseri, he was the third son of the Ogata Family, which ran a high-class clothing shop in Kariganeya, Kyoto. Another son of this family
was the famous painter Korin, who is known for his byōbu folding screens, such as Irises and Red and White Plum Blossoms, but he also painted ceramics for his brother Kenzan.
As a young man Kenzan builded a house at the foot of
Omuronarabigaoka and led a secluded life, learning Japanese and Chinese poetry, practicing writing and familiarizing himself with Zen Buddhism. From there, he often visited the kiln at Omuro, and started in 1690 to study pottery under guidance of Onomura
Ninsei. In 1699, at the age of 37, he started his own kiln in Narutaki, Rakusei, in the northwest of Kyoto en changed his name in “Kenzan” meaning northwest mountain. In 1712, when a high ranked nobleman began to patronize his kiln,
he moved to the east area of Kyoto, he moved to Nijō, in central Kyoto, where he established another kiln. After difficulties he moved to Edo (Tokyo) in 1731 where he built another kiln and died in 1743. Kenzan produced quantities of pottery, included
raku ware (pottery covered with a lead glaze and fired at a comparatively lowtemperature), earthenware and porcelain but is assocciated the most with Kyo-yaki. He produced a unique and groundbreaking style of freely brushed grasses, blossoms,
and birds as decorative motifs for potteryand his pieces were noted for their perfect relation between design and shape.He often collaborated on the decoration of pottery with his older brother, the painter Ogata Korin what resulted in wonderful decorative
plates, on which Korin’s painting and Kenzan’s poems are seen together.
Ogata Kenzan and his teacher Onomura Ninsei are regarded as the founders of modern Kyo-yaki.
Some examples and the seal of Ogata Kenzan.
Suwa Sozan (1852-1922) 蘇山
Sozan (for Kinkozan) 素山
There are more Sozans working in Meiji period, signing with different Marks. 素山, 祖山, 蘇山 , 宋山, 宗山 and 淙山 all can be read as Sozan. However , there are two artists with the name Sozan whose work are of remarkable high quality, and both have
a strong connection with the Kinkozan company. For this reason they are often mixed up, and seen as one and the same person. In fact, the first Sozan (Suwa Sozan) was a ceramic artist (potter), while the other was a decorator (painter). Suwa Sozan
signed with an impressed mark 蘇山 and the decorator Sozan signed with a painted mark 素山, frequently seen together with the Kinkozan mark, but also with the Yasuda mark or as a single mark. They are for sure two different persons, though both
are important names in Kinkozan history and working in the same period.
Suwa Sozan (1852-1922) 蘇山
Suwa Sozan I (1852-1922) was born in Kutani country, what is known today as Ishikawa prefecture. Here he initially studied ceramics design and painting before moving
to Tokyo in 1875, where he received a training as ceramics painter and tried to establish a business in porcelain decorating. Since the last was not a succes he returned to Ishikawa where he worked at the Kutani Toki Kaisha (cermaics company) and taught at
the Ishikawa Prefectural industrial Training school. During his years in Tokyo he became friends with Ernest Francisco Fenollos, an american philosopher and scholar of Japanese arts who helped found the Tokyo
School of Fine Arts and the Tokyo Imperial Museum.
During 1875 and 1900 Suwan Sozan would travel between Tokyo and Kanazawa, working
at various kilns and research facilities. In 1900 he moved to Kyoto to work at the Kinkozan factory, where he was appointed as artistic manager to help the development of Kinkozan ceramics. His influence on the quality of Kinkozan ware was significant,
and during his years and afterwards some of the finest objects ever were created. In 1907 he left Kinkozan and started his own porcelain factory in Gojozaka in Kyoto, producing sophisticated items, modelled on traditional Chinese and Korean ware with
overglazed decoration. He became famous for his celadon ware and was appointed Teishitsu Gigeiin n 1917. The Teishitsu Gigei-in (imperial Court Artist) were members of the Imperial Art Academy and there were only five Pottery artists ever named Teishitsu Gigei-in:
Ito Tozan, Suwa Sozan, Itaya Hazan, Miyagawa Kozan, and Seifu Yohei III. Suwa Sozan I died in 1922 in Kyoto and was succeeded by his adopted daughter Suwa Sozan II.
Some examples of Suwa Sozans work
Sozans signature with impressed Kinkozan mark
Sozan (leading painter for Kinkozan) 素山
The painter Sozan 素山was one of the productive artists who worked for the Kinkozan workshop, and among them he was certainly the best. The Kinkozan workshop knew
many decorators, but most of them worked anonymously under the name Kinkozan. Only a select group of the very best decorators were allowed to place their signature next to that of Kinkozan. Itozan, Gassan, Keizan and certainly Sozan were among those who, in
separate rooms, sometimes worked weeks and even months on a single piece. This is in contrast to the decorators who, seated in a crowded workplace, were deployed to deliver mass products. Sozan was able to produce work of very high quality and refinement,
in a manner that was in line with Western painting techniques. Kinkozan items painted by Sozan, is very sought after and belongs to the best Satsuma style ever made. However, nothing is known about his life itself and even his year of birth and death remains
Some examples of Sozans work for Kinkozan cie.
The mark of Chikusen I
CHIKUSEN Miura Chikusen (1854 - 1915)
There are several generations
of the potersfamily Chikusen, of which the first Miura Chikusen, working in Meiji period, is in this context the most important. It must be seid that also the later generations Chikusen were very skillful potters. The Chikusen kiln probably still exists, untill
recent under the leadership of the fifth generation of Chikusen.
Miura Chikusen was born in 1854 as Watanabe Masakichi, as the second son of Watanabe Ihei,who owned “Kazuyasu-dô” a tea store in Kyoto. In 1867, when he was 13 year old,
he became a student of Takahashi Dôhachi III (1811-1879). In 1883 he opened his own kiln at Gojozaka in Kyoto.
In his early years he became known for his celadon ware, using different types of glazing and later on for applying various western
techniques and colors on Japanese porcelain. Chikusen developed a transparent glazing called Yuyaku-Tomeimon and started in 1904 to insert jade and other semiprecious stone as well as coral for decoration on Sometsuke porcelain. He received great
reception at the Chicago and Paris Expositions. He is seen as one of the most important representatives of e- gorai, a pottery style strongly derived from the pottery developed in the Cizhou kilns in China during the early Ming period. It was later widely
copied in Korea and introduced in Japan at the end of the 16th century. It is characterized by a decoration that is usually applied with a dark iron-oxide on a white or light brown slip.
Miura Chikusen I was an exceptionally skilled potter
who specialized in Kiyomizu-yaki and Kyo-yaki high-quality porcelains used in sencha tea ceremony. In this genre, he is one of the most important artists in the country and his porcelain was considered to be of the highest level throughout the Meiji
era, which is still highly appreciated among tea lovers today. Chikusen was in Meiji time a well known figure in artistic Kyoto. Besides of an exceptionally skilled potter, he also was an accomplished painter, poet, and calligraphist. In 1903 he published
the ‘T’ao Shuo’, (Wakan Taisho Tosetsu), a Japanese Chinese Comparison Ceramic Study.
Chikusen died in 1915, after handing over his kiln to his son Chikusen Miura II (1882-1918). Chikusen II was succeeded
after his death by his younger brother Chikusen Miura III (1900-90) who was to lead the family kiln to 1934. He handed the kiln over to his nephew, Chikusen II's son, who had reached the age of majority and became the fourth generation
Chikusen Miura IV (1911-1976). Chikusen III himself then opened his own kiln and continued under the name Chikken, specializing in the traditional Kenzan-Ninsei styles. Chikken Miura gained great fame for his exceptional technique and won
Chikusen IV handed the kiln over in 1972 to his eldest son, Chikusen V (born in 1934) who is the fifth and according to our information the last generation of the Chikusen dynasty.
Examples of work by Chikusen I 1. A chawan (umebachi) in a classic style known as e-Gorai or e- Karatsu. 2. A vase decorated in underglaze blue and purple enamel and inlaid in coral, green agate and other stones. 3. A large porcelain vase covered in olive green upon which grows a rush of white bamboo and at the other site a brief epitaph. 4. A masterpiece of calligraphy and design is this bowl on which is written in perfectly formed characters the virtues of the scholar life and way of tea through the Gyokusen Chaka (Song of Tea).
Examples of work by the later generations of the Chikusen family, showing that they all were exceptional ceramic artists.
Like this drummer boy, work of Kusube Sennosuke is often offered as Kusube Yaichi.
Kusube is one of the most common names to be found on Satsuma pottery. Its quality varies from moderate to fairly good, and only once in a while can one speak of high quality. Kusube is erroneously also called Nambe, however
the correct pronunciation of the name is Kusube. Another common mistake is confusing Kusube Sennosuke (1859-1941) with his son, the famous Kusube Yaichi (1897-1984). Serious auction houses and antique dealers know the difference of course, but on auction sites
like e-bay and also in the somewhat smaller auction houses Satsuma style work of Kusube Sennosuke is often offered as Kusube Yaichi. However, Kusube Yaichi was a modern ceramist, his work is of a very different nature than that of his father, and also of a
much later date. It is not likely that Yaichi Kusube has ever worked in the business of his father.
signature of Kusube (Sennosuke)
Sennosuke Kusube (1859-1941)
Sennosuke Kusube started around 1880 in Kyoto his workshop for the production and decoration of Kyo Satsuma, pottery in Satsuma
style. Much more is not known about him, except that he must have been one of the largest producers of Kyo satsuma, given the amount of work still on offer today. Because of the differences in quality, it is plausible that Kusube's workshop often
employed less skilled decorators, who produced large numbers of export wares, much of medium quality and without too much imagination in decoration or decoration. Rakans, bijins and samurai are common and are often interchangeable for that of other producers.
Probably they all used the designs from the Onchi Zuroku. After the collapse of the Tokugawa shogunate in 1868 the Meiji government tried to develop the industrial development of Japan as fast as possible. Promotion of Japanese pottery and porcelain and other
cultural expressions was part of this and that led to the creation of "Onchi Zuroku" ("Catalog of Design Patterns"), a design resource for artisans crafting Japanese-style items for overseas. Judging by the majority of Kusubes work, the Onchi Zuroki must have
been an important source of inspiration for him. Nevertheless, exceptional pieces by him are known, showing that he was a skillful decorator. The majority, however, will have been executed by less skilled workers. Considering the year of birth of
Yaichi (1897), it is clear that all of Kusube's work made in Meiji and early Taisho period can be attributed to Kusube Sennosuke. And given the style of work, it also seems certain that all the Kyoto-Satsuma work from the later Taisho and Showa I periods was
produced by Sennosuke. Possibly Yaichi helped his father (who was in his seventies at the beginning of Showa period) with the development of the more modern Kusube work from the Taisho and Showa period. This modern style, characterized by stylized, brightly
colored figures using moriage on a mostly white glazed background, is clearly recognizable in comparison to the more common way of decoration in traditional colors, where the background was glazed dark brown or cobalt blue. Kusube Sennosuke died in 1941, it
is not known when the Kusube workhsop was closed.
Examples of the work of Sennosuke Kusube
Signature of Yaichi Kusube
Kusube Yaichi (1897-1984 )
Kusube Yaichi was born in 1897 in Higashima, Kyoto and joined at Young age the School of the Kyoto Ceramic Experimental Training
Centre, together with other later prominent artists as Yagi Isso and Hamada Shoji. It was a time that potters more and more started to understand themselves not merely as producers of decorative ware, but as artists able to create individual works of art and
design. It is likely that the students at this school were trained in this new conception of their crafts. In 1918 he started to make ceramics in Sanjo, Kyoto and in 1920, when he was only 23 he founded the avant-garde group of ceramists “Akatsuchi”.
For this reason it is not likely that Yaichi Kusube has ever worked in the family business what was producing export ware in large numbers. Yaichi Kusube was a prominent ceramic artist, who received many prices in his life time. He was awarded in
1924 at the Paris Universal Exposition and received many other prices the years after. In 1962 he became a member of the Japan Art Academy , in 1972 he was designated a person of cultural Merits by the city of Kyoto and in 1978 he receveid the Order of Culltural
Merit. Yaichi Kusube died in 1984.