Title: Satsuma Ware, Hawk on the Pine Tree
White color base Satsuma ware. A hawk standing on the branch of the pine tree is drawn. The gold outline of the hawk makes an elegant look. The neck of this Tsubo (vase) is decorated with the wing pattern. As the pine tree keeps its green color throughout the year by withstanding severe heat and cold, the pine tree pattern represents the eternal youth. It has been treated as a sacred plant.
Hawk is an intelligent bird used for hunting, which is called falconry; it is famous for high-class Samurai recreation. But in the old days, it was also familiar with emperors and royal families, so it might be why hawk was regarded as a symbol of the ruler’s authority. During the warring period, the boy’s success was to become an excellent Samurai; therefore, it’s thought that men (Samurai) and the hawk had a deep connection as a symbol of advancement and authority. Many Samurai loved this design based on that reason.
What is Satsuma Yaki?
Satsuma Yaki (薩摩焼, Satsuma ware) is a kind of Japanese pottery made in Satsuma Province (Kagoshima Pref. today). From 1529 to 1598, the battle of Bunroku, Keichou (文禄・慶長の役) happened. It was the conflict between Japan and the Korean Peninsula. After this troop dispatch to the Korean Peninsula, Yoshihiro Shimazu, who was the 17th feudal lord of the Satsuma domain, brought back more than 80 Korean potters to Japan. They opened kilns in various parts in the Satsuma domain and made different pottery types depending on their locations or style of a potter. They were categorized into five styles: Naeshirogawa-Kei (苗代川系), Tateno-Kei (竪野系), Ryumonji-Kei (龍門司系), Nishimochida-Kei (西餅田系), Hirasa-Kei (平佐系). And all of them are called Satsuma Yaki.
Satsuma ware is classified as two groups based on the differences of each characteristic. There are Shiro-Satsuma (白薩摩) and Kuro-Satsuma (黒薩摩). Shiro-Satsuma is also called Shiromon (白もん). It is made of white clay and is carefully molded. And then it is covered with a transparent glaze. Fine cracks are seen on the surface of the pottery. Usually, it is decorated with gorgeous designs with gold, red, green, purple, and yellow. Shiro-Satsuma was made for the domain so that the domain and the Shimazu family had it. Kuro-Satsuma is also known as Kuromon (黒もん). It has been appreciated as a daily household appliance for ordinary people in contrast to Shiromon. As it uses ferrous soil, Kuro-Satsuma has black color and has a simple and sturdy body.
Satsuma ware was exhibited in the 1867 Paris World Expo and regarded highly in Europe. Since then, Satsuma ware is called “SATSUMA” and loved not only in Japan but overseas.
Samurai Museum is located in Tokyo, Japan, exhibiting antique artifacts related to the Samurai history. Samurai Museum Shop is the place for those who are interested in Japanese culture and craftsmanship. We deal with antique Samurai swords/armor, traditional crafts made in Japan and so on.
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