Japanese artists have gained their inspiration from nature for generations. Delicate floral patterns and soaring birds often pay honor to the environment that inspired their creation. Mythology and storytelling inspire Japanese art as well. So there is no shortage of dragons and other mythical creatures on Japanese porcelain. Satsuma is a region in Japan where Korean artists settled. Therefore the name represents the art created in that region during the Meiji period, not a particular type of pottery or design. The Satsuma Province is located in southern Japan, very close to South Korea. The Meiji period in Japanese history ran from 1868 to 1912. So as you can guess, there is a wide range of Antique Japanese Satsuma vases available.
Antique Japanese Satsuma Vases
Add a beautiful touch of Asian decor to your home with an Antique Japanese Satsuma Vase. Some of the gorgeous designs include dragons, flowers and birds.
Satsuma Pottery Markings
The Circle with the Cross at the Top denotes Satsuma Pottery
The Japanese Satsuma vase shown to the right embodies many of the trends of Japanese Art. No one can miss the abundant use of gold color in the design. This isn't always the precious metal gold, which would have then and now, priced it out of the market of most Japanese households. But it is a vibrant and rich gold tone, which sets a beautiful stage for the additional layers of art yet to come. Several Japanese warriors are featured on this face. Their fierce faces have the passionate sense of honor and duty that we have come to expect from anything associated with the Samurai Class. Their dark black hair offers a pop of color and anchors the golden backdrop.
You have to look closer to notice the raised dragon on this vase but he is there. Japanese dragons do not have the same appearance as dragons seen in western culture. In Japanese art they are much closer visually to snakes. Oh and here's an interesting tidbit. If the dragon has three toes, then it's a Japanese dragon. Chinese dragons have 3 toes. They have a serpent head and no wings.They are also not believed to be evil. Instead they are believed to be imbued with a powerful wisdom, which they sometimes share with mortals. Am I the only person to see a connection with the snake in the Garden of Eden that offers Even the apple and the gift of wisdom?
If you're into the Loch Ness monster, then you'll also be interested to know that the Japanese often tell dragon stories that are connected to water bodies. The well-known Shinto-dragon Ryo-Wo, lived in a castle at the bottom of ocean. Dragons are also blamed for tumultuous spring weather. Powerful storms are believed to be the result of dragons fighting each other.
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19th Century Japanese Satsuma Vase
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As with many other cultures Japanese artists use a pair of birds to denote a loving couple. A black bird signifies an evil presence. You'll also see many birds painted to resemble a Phoenix or a Japanese symbol of rebirth. Birds are often paired with flowers. Chrysanthemums are associated with the Autumn in Japanese culture. When these flowers are included in art, it means that you are wishing someone a long life.
I love to use porcelain vases throughout my home. Sometimes they are indeed used to hold flowers, both cut and growing. When I use a vase to grow flowers, I use two strategies to create decent drainage. I take a wide a large wide vase and then put a smaller flower pot in it. If there isn't room for that I put a lot of pebbles in the bottom then layer soil on top of that.
While I love to collect Japanese pottery and art, it isn't necessary to collect expensive pieces to include Japanese art in your home. I love to include antique Meiji vases or Satsuma vases on the sideboard buffets in my home. Larger vases stand ready at the front door to collect umbrellas and hiking sticks. (As my parents and their friends age, they aren't carrying canes. They're calling them walking sticks.)
Don't be afraid to mix materials and styles. Your Waterford Crystal collection will look fabulous shown off with your Japanese porcelain. In fact I think you'll love the way that the colors of the Japanese art reflect off of fine crystal. Think of a Satsumi vase overflowing with white chrysanthemums in back of a sterling silver tea set, flanked on either side with Waterford candlesticks with white candles.
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Large Late 19th Century Satsuma Vase
As you can see from checking out some of the Current Bids shown on this page, there is an antique Satsuma vase for every budget. That makes working with these beautiful objects fun. Would I take a $5,000 antique vase and turn it into a lamp? Probably not. But if I can get a beautiful pair of vases for $50, then I just might. Any craft store sells the kits that turn almost anything into a lamp. It's so easy that my electrical engineer husband, actually lets me do it.
I love the way the two transformed vases at the right look. Pair them with classic white lamp shades and they'll look stunning on end tables on either side of your couch. They would be equally at home on a side table in your foyer. Interesting reuse is a fabulous way of redefining objects that a dear relative left to you, that you don't use. There are some people who don't have the time or the budget to buy or grow cut flowers. There are also people who are flat out allergic to anything that grows. So adaptive reuse, allows everyone to have a gorgeous Satsuma vase in their home.
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