There is no visible image of god in Japan's oldest religion, “Shinto”. People look for the image of gods in their daily surroundings and found the divine spirits to dwell in pine trees. For this reason, pine trees are considered sacred and many wonderful artworks of pine trees were created. Cranes are said to live one thousand years. They are considered auspicious as their distinctive high pitched voices can reach to the heaven. Pine trees and cranes symbolize longevity and a harmonious marriage.
This is a beautiful set of Kyoto Satsuma wares (Kyo-Satsuma). Satsuma wares were made in different parts of Japan other than original hon-Satsuma in Kagoshima, Kyushu Southern Island: Kyoto, Osaka, Yokohama, Nagasaki, etc. The set we offer here is also called Awata ware. It was made in Awata (Awata-guchi) in Kyoto. Kinkozan (VI, VII) and Taizan are well known Awata-yaki potters. At one point, 90 percent’s of Awata wares were exports and 40,000 potteries (in a year) were exported out of Port Kobe during their prime time in early Meiji period (1868-1912).
Each vase is signed in gold, “Toritei”, and has a incised seal at the bottom of vase. You can find the basic information on “Toritei” in Asian Art forum, www.asianart.com (it has 2 threads on Toritei). Many thanks to them. The incised seals at the bottom appears to read “To-ri-tei” which was not expected. We expected someone like Kinkozan. – we took some photos of seals from different angles. We also found several Totai Shippo vases (cloisonne over the ceramic body) on internet. They carried incised seals of Toritei. Kinkozan had a Cloisonne workshop at his shop in Kyoto and made the Totai cloisonne. Taizan also made Totai Shippo. Their Shippo vases look very much alike.
Back to our Kyo Satsuma. The design on the pair fill each vases; each vase has different pair of cranes on front and back of vase, and on 2 sides (under rings). Only one single crane on a side. Every pair and a single crane on a side has a group of cranes coming to or going out from them.
Measurements and Condition:
Two vases are different in size. This is not uncommon in Japanese things, like “Meoto chawan”, a set of tea cups for loving husband and wife.
Larger vase: 16 ¼ inches tall without counting a wood stand, 9 ½ inches in diameter without counting rings on the sides, weigh 10 pounds. One wood stand is partially broken off inside – no affect as a stand.
Smaller vase: A half-inch less in height, same with, almost 9 pounds.
Condition is almost mint except; gold faded on top collar band area (smaller vase), some firing flaws on the rings and their flower bases, one small area under the opening the top white cray missing and surface smoothed out – probably happened during firing - show no effect on right side. (smaller vase)