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One Man’s 25-Year Journey Collecting Japanese Ceramics

by David Pike (03/23/10).

A large Shoza plate that John Wocher considers to be the best piece in this 500-plus-piece collection of Japanese ceramics.

A large Shoza plate that John Wocher considers to be the best piece in this 500-piece collection of Japanese ceramics.

Are you a collector or are you in an accumulating phase? I interviewed John Wocher, a hospital executive in Kamogawa, Chiba Prefecture, who has put together an impressive collection of Japanese ceramics over the last 25 years or so about how he accumulated his collection.

David Pike: How long have you been in Japan?

John Wocher:Twenty-one years, this time. The first time was from 1964 to 1966.

David Pike: When did you start collecting?

John Wocher: I accumulated first and then I collected. Serious since about 1990

David Pike: Why do you collect?

John Wocher: I think it is man’s nature to collect. Everyone collects something—it seems a natural behavior. I collect for personal pleasure, knowledge and to share that pleasure and knowledge with others. Secondarily, I think we collectors are preserving history in some small way, passing it on to the next generation to delight in it and to learn about history through these collectables.

David Pike: How many pieces do you have?

John Wocher: I have never counted them, but should do an inventory at some point in time but I keep putting it off. I guess somewhere near 500 pieces, but many are not so large and don’t take up too much room. I had a special collection area built in my house to display pieces.

David Pike: How did you become interested in collecting?

A detail from the Shoza plate.

A detail from the Shoza plate.

John Wocher has been collecting Japanese ceramics for the last 25 years.

John Wocher has been collecting Japanese ceramics for the last 25 years.

John Wocher: Not sure. It is something that grows on you slowly. I bought several Kutani pieces in the late ’80s in my “accumulating phase.” Then I saw a spectacular piece and bought it. There was no comparison. As I got exposed to better and better pieces, my tastes and desire grew. I was impressed with the uniqueness of Japanese art forms and the quality. But it was not just porcelain in the beginning. It was Japanese art in many forms, from woodblock prints, to furniture such as tansu to lacquer and the whole spectrum. But I could not accumulate everything! I found porcelain also to be functional, and that appealed to me.

David Pike: What is your philosophy for collecting?

John Wocher: Collect fewer but better pieces. Quality over quantity and think in advance about how the piece will be displayed or used.

David Pike: What are your main interests?

John Wocher: Meiji to Taisho Kutani with a preference for aka-e kinrande , Shoza style and Taisho aotsubu style .

David Pike: When did you first become interested in Kutani?

John Wocher: In about 1972, when I remember buying a Kutani dish that caught my eye in a small shop and I still have it. I always will remember buying it. I thought it was spectacular. I now realize it is rather ordinary, but it still pleases me.

David Pike: How much have you studied Kutani?

John Wocher: A lot. I have most books on Kutani written in English and an extensive mini-library on Kutani, as well as books on Japanese porcelain of all kinds. But learning is never-ending. I am not so good at contemporary Kutani, but better on ko-Kutani .

David Pike: Do you try to have a complete, representative collection? That is to say, do you think in terms of filling in areas that may be under represented if taking a survey type look at the field you are interested in and your collection?

John Wocher: Regarding Kutani, I think it is well represented for the Meiji-Taisho era overlapping a bit earlier. But overall, no. Kutani is so wide and deep, particularly in that era and earlier, that it is very difficult, particularly finding authentic pieces of say, Eiraku , Mokubei and it probably can’t be done.

David Pike: What are some of your best pieces?

This large 17th century Imari bowl is the oldest piece in Wocher’s collection.

This large 17th century Imari bowl is the oldest piece in Wocher’s collection.

This striking Imari sometsuke plate measures 1 meter in diameter.

This striking Imari sometsuke plate measures 1 meter in diameter.

John Wocher: As a mental exercise, I have often pondered what three or four pieces I would try and rescue in case my house caught fire, assuming my family was safe. I think a probably authentic large Shoza plate, a large 17th century Imari bowl and my 1-meter-in-diameter Imari sometsuke plate, but each time I think about it, my thinking changes!

David Pike: Is there a process of getting to know a piece after you buy it?

John Wocher: Absolutely. Collecting means spending time with pieces; not hoarding them and putting them in closets for later. New acquisitions almost always get displayed shortly after arrival. Maybe an older piece then gets put away. If functional, use them soon. Study a piece closely—there is much to learn by handling a piece. Each interaction with a piece adds to your knowledge. Post it on a forum for comments. Rotate your collection as it grows. Visit old friends so to speak. Enjoy your collection.

David Pike: How often do you sell a piece from your collection?

John Wocher: For me, rarely. Maybe once or twice a year. However, at my age, I need to think about who will own my pieces after I am gone. We can only possess them for a short time. They belonged to someone else when we purchased them and eventually will belong to someone else after we are gone. This is something everyone will eventually face.

David Pike: Philosophy for buying?

The first piece Wocher purchased.

The first piece Wocher purchased.

Detail of the first piece of the collection.

Detail of the first piece of the collection.

John Wocher: Avoid impulse buying. Buy the best pieces one can afford and realize more is not better. A ¥50,000 piece is more satisfying in the long run than 10 ¥5,000 pieces in most circumstances. Buy pieces with historical significance, if possible, representing a style or period, with known artists/decorators in a style you like most. Try to narrow your field. I like Meiji to Taisho Kutani the best. Sure, I will buy outside that field on occasion, to include Imari , Nabeshima and Hirado , as examples, but my focus is Kutani. You must like what you buy. A marked or signed piece is generally more collectable because it often aids in dating and identifying origin. An artist, shop name, location, kiln mark or date is always an important clue. The tomobako is very important, particularly if original to the piece. It often contains more information than on the piece itself. In some cases, the tomobako is worth more than the piece it holds!

David Pike: As a collector who has considerable experience, what are your biggest challenges now?

John Wocher: For me, the challenge is what now? I am winding down and the question on the horizon is what to do with the pieces I have collected. Every collector will face this, whether you are a stamp or coin collector or are collecting art. I have to face this pretty soon.

David Pike: Do you still make mistakes in purchases?

John Wocher: Yes, but not often. At antique fairs and shows where there is an opportunity to ask questions and hold a piece in your hand, rarely. Internet pieces represent risk of mistakes, but if one is knowledgeable, risk can be minimized. Fortunately, Kutani is very rarely faked and when faked, is faked poorly. The problem is near-perfect copies, sold as copies/reproductions, and not with intent to deceive. But once in the secondary market, it is often difficult to tell.

David Pike: How often on average do you purchase?

A Satsuma jar.

A Satsuma vase.

Examples of Japanese calligraphy.

Examples of Japanese calligraphy.

John Wocher: These days, once a month. Even when I was more avid, three times a month was rare.

David Pike: What does your wife think about your collecting activities?

John Wocher: Not much. Except for objects that can be used for ikebana or for practical use, she is not very interested. She questions my “plan” frequently when a new piece arrives.

David Pike: Have you ever thought about giving up?

John Wocher: Yes, only recently. Unless a really spectacular piece presents itself, I am winding down, “giving up,” so to speak. But as the collection was growing, I never thought about it.

David Pike: What is the longest you have gone with out purchasing something?

John Wocher: Two to three months.

David Pike: Do you have regrets about pieces you didn’t purchase?

John Wocher: Yes, but regrets are short, except for one piece I still regret. It was a large tureen decorated by Shimizu Bizan. Really large and really spectacular. Probably the best piece by him I had ever seen. The owner contacted me offline for an appraisal and I expressed an interest it. She had an offer of $2,700 from a museum and wanted to know if it was reasonable. I offered her $3,000 for it and she mentioned that to the museum. They offered her $5,000 for it, and I told her that was reasonable. I should have purchased it.

David Pike: How has collecting helped you understand Japan?

John Wocher: I think art reflects history and culture, so porcelain can also be seen as a window into history and culture. Much like paintings, we can look backwards at the world. Many of the scenes depicted on porcelain reflect actual events. We can learn a lot about a culture and its people through art and porcelain is no exception.

David Pike: When did you start making prints? Were your first prints as influenced by Kutani as your latest prints?

One of John Wocher’s prints.

One of John Wocher’s prints.

John Wocher: My first woodblock print was in 1977. I gave up. Too hard. I didn’t make prints until 2000; actually drawings that later were printed in limited editions. Other than my unsuccessful experiment in making a woodblock, all of my prints are porcelain inspired, mostly Kutani. I do them for personal enjoyment and as stress reduction.

David Pike: What do you hope to do with your collection?

John Wocher: This is best question of all! I would like to thin out my collection, selling off all but perhaps the best 25 pieces or some similar manageable number. Don’t know how to do that though. I’d like to then give those selected pieces to my children and grandchildren in hopes that it will inspire them to learn more about history through these pieces and give them a opportunity to see the very best I could acquire. My children live in Japan, as well as my grandchildren, and the added benefit is to acquaint them with their roots here by having fine examples of Japanese porcelain to reflect on.

David Pike: What are the best places to buy?

John Wocher: Local shops, garage sales, antique fairs, major auction houses (but these tend to be expensive!). I like Yahoo.jp a lot, but I am in Japan, where it is easier to navigate the site. Often eBay will be reliable, but exercise caution. Buy from other collectors.

David Pike: What are the best places to avoid?

John Wocher: EBay can be dangerous for the beginner. Pieces are misrepresented and fakes are numerous. I hear bad things about Craigslist, but have no personal experience.

David Pike: Do you have advice to someone who is new to collecting?

John Wocher: Yes. Reference books are essential. Their costs are an investment that is best done up front and not later. Next, try to specialize or collect within a relatively narrow field— pieces that you like. Visit museums, shops, the Internet sites and get a feel for quality. The beginning collector, like I was once, has big eyes and often impulse purchases on a random basis. Maybe narrow to plates or cups. Decorative versus functional. Maybe vases. In other words, think “collection” not “accumulation”—these are different. I like sa’ke flasks (tokkuri), sa’ke cups and tea cups. Within the cups, I like aka-e and those with inside calligraphy. And I use them, frequently. There is a double pleasure in appreciating them from afar and in hand being used as intended. As the collecting becomes more serious, one should avoid damaged pieces. An exception would be a spectacular or historical piece that you just can’t live without. Hairlines (fractures) are an exception, and perhaps a flea bite or two and a nicely stapled piece or a gold repair. No matter how good the repair, it decreases value, artistically and financially. Having said that, I have some. I have a set of sa’ke cups with two perfectly stapled with silver staples. Someone took the time to care for these and not throw them away. I often reach for one when I get my sa’ke out. It is the thought that counts.

I have a piece or two with a gold repair. In today’s disposable society, these are reminders of how good porcelain was treasured. However, damaged pieces should be the exception in a collection in my opinion.

David Pike: Do you have any advice to someone who has started collecting but doesn’t feel they are getting anywhere?

John Wocher: Connect with other collectors. Forums are great places. Everyone is helpful. Go to shows and exhibits; ask many questions, buy catalogs and books. Get second opinions on pieces you are contemplating.

David Pike: What do you think were the biggest challenges you faced as a beginning collector? That is to say, after you decided to “collect.”

John Wocher: The biggest challenge is balancing what you like and what you can afford. I wish, when I was here in the 1960s, when yen was 360 to the U. S. dollar, that I would have bought some nice pieces instead of beer. Looking back, I don’t regret it in the same way I don’t regret not buying 1982 Bordeaux. It would have been nice, but I just wasn’t ready. Part of collecting is to have a plan. I didn’t have one then.

David Pike: I hate clutter. That is one of my biggest obstacles as a wannabe collector. How have you dealt with that?

Several of Wocher’s pieces are displayed in a cabinet.

Several of Wocher’s pieces are displayed in a cabinet.

John Wocher: According to my spouse, poorly. I’d say that at any given time, about 200 pieces are displayed. About 20 in a cabinet where I don’t rotate the pieces, and in my collection room/area, I do rotate them periodically. That means about 200 are in boxes and stored.

David Pike: What do you say to someone who is trying to build a collection as a means to build wealth? Their goal is to have the pieces appreciate in value.

John Wocher: I’d say there are better ways to build wealth. But, if one buys only the best, only the rare, and only the historic, there is a chance that value will be increased. One should remember this: The successful bidder is the one who pays more than anyone else thinks it is worth.

David Pike: Hindsight is 20/20. What would you do different if you were to start over?

John Wocher: I would have made a plan much earlier.

David Pike: Do you think it is possible to build a collection on a “pocket money” budget?

John Wocher: Absolutely. A collection is not based on size. Two or three really good pieces per year is a very good start; a very good plan once a person has narrowed down what is to be collected.

David Pike: What is the difference between accumulating and collecting?

John Wocher: Accumulating is amassing objects without a plan. Accumulating usually has a wide range in terms of types of objects and price/value. It is generally quantity over quality, and also generally does not have many high-quality pieces among a usually high number of pieces accumulated. Collections usually have a plan, are limited to a defined style/era/maker/art form. Overall, they are usually representative of that style/maker/art form and represent in many cases the best that the style/maker/art form has to offer.

There you have it. Any suggestions as to what John should do with his magnificent collection? Please leave a comment below and I will gladly pass it along.

David Pike is a Worthologist who specializes in items from Japan.

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14 Responses to “One Man’s 25-Year Journey Collecting Japanese Ceramics”

  1. terry ashley says:

    how does one find the value of large hakata doll collection

  2. Dean Kelly says:

    David,

    That was a fascinating interview. It was enlightening to get the perspective of a collector such as John Wocher, who has put together such a good collection of Japanese antiques. As a dealer, I don’t always keep in mind the “plan” of the collector and it is helpful to be be reminded.

    Dean Kelly

  3. Ongelia Hughes says:

    Good Morning!

    I finally got the nerve to just leave a small note on how important the pieces my great grandmother left me were,she was stationed in Japan on her voluntary duty that she peformed during the war and she would talk to us at great length about how important what she did and I really had know idea until I became older that it was so much history behind it all.My Great Grandmother was the first Black Wac that volunteered and I am so very proud of all that was told to me and how much she acheived back then so when I started researching I am discovering so much more so your pieces make me think more and more about her and what she contributed to it all.

    Thanking you in advance for listening!

    Ongelia Hughes for my Great Grandmother Ella James of Centralia Illinois

  4. Ed Hicks says:

    A Satsuma vase.
    Hello, If possible I would like to know more about the vase with rooster shown here…size, age, maker, details, etc. It is striking and appears to be of larger size. Ed

  5. Dave Pike says:

    Hello Ed,
    I contacted John and he sent me the following discussion about the piece you asked about. It is inclusive but has a lot of interesting information. The discussion took place on a big porcelain board.

    Dave

    Begin paste.

    Greetings – I have often spoken here of the small shop I frequent weekly for tea and to discover unrecognized national treasures. I have not discovered any….yet. About ten days ago when I visited, I helped the owner offload some items from his small truck. One object was a very large vase that was, in a word, spectacular. In the shop I looked it over very carefully and although it had a wooden base bonded to it because the previous owner had cats, I bought it without knowing if it was marked in any way. It was, in my opinion,unmistakably Satsuma, and after removing the wooden base, the mark read Satsuma and had another marking next to it. Because it was spectacular in quality, I had it appraised and it was authenticated as Satsuma and famous artist attributed. Then, I thought of selling it, so contacted someone I know who handles high end Satsuma. He said unmistakably Chinese. I sent more high definition photos and his reply was “Sorry, it is Chinese.” Well… I then contacted a third person, and she concurred in it being Chinese, indicating that around 1990 she saw some “marvelous” Chinese pieces that were similar in size and were marked Satsuma, and they were new, from China. I have never seen such an impeccable piece in terms of quality, except in high end authentic Satsuma. If Chinese (and I hold out a slight hope as part of my wishful thinking) it is the first piece I have seen that except for the artist mark/style, that is as Satsuma as Satsuma and only someone who has firsthand knowledge of these ‘marvelous’ reproductions will not be fooled. Point is that second opinions are important and when there is a difference of opinion, to get a third one. If I had tried to sell this vase using my respected appraisal, I could have been embarrassed and so would the appraiser. Now I have a marvelous vase to keep flowers in that I did not pay much for, and that is very good. Cheers!
    John

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    John Wocher
    Dragon (Board Moderator)
    Username: Johninjapan

    Post Number: 3162
    Registered: 09-2003
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    Posted on Tuesday, December 12, 2006 – 05:33 am:

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    Cheers And…. Since there is no longer any commercial intent, take a look at these four views and take a shot. Is it real, or is it….?
    36cm tall, 1.2 meters circumference at widest.
    I’d value fourth, fifth and more opinions. It is indeed marvelous:
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    John Wocher
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    Username: Johninjapan

    Post Number: 3163
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    Posted on Tuesday, December 12, 2006 – 05:42 am:

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    And… the convincing (to me) details.
    Cheers!
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    Paul Seno
    Silver Pheasant
    Username: Paulseno

    Post Number: 252
    Registered: 03-2006
    Posted From: gatehouse2.dhs.vic.gov.au

    Posted on Tuesday, December 12, 2006 – 05:44 am:

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    Hi John, thanks for posting the photos. It does look great. Fine workmanship. The only suspicious part to me is the overall color pallete. Somehow most of the tones especially the pinks and blues don’t look right for Satsuma. But I admit I would have been likely fooled by this piece without hindsight.

    Regards
    Paul

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    Paul Seno
    Silver Pheasant
    Username: Paulseno

    Post Number: 253
    Registered: 03-2006
    Posted From: gatehouse2.dhs.vic.gov.au

    Posted on Tuesday, December 12, 2006 – 05:48 am:

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    Having a closer look at your new photos, the crackle work is also doubtful and the raised areas appear like the more mundane Chinese Satsuma.
    Regards
    Paul

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    John Wocher
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    Username: Johninjapan

    Post Number: 3165
    Registered: 09-2003
    Posted From: 210.162.146.228

    Posted on Tuesday, December 12, 2006 – 05:55 am:

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    And…Oh yes…… Here is the mark:
    Cheers! John
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    John Wocher
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    Post Number: 3166
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    Posted on Tuesday, December 12, 2006 – 06:02 am:

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    Paul – Don’t be too sure…. Not all Satsuma has highly crackled glaze, although it is a common characteristic. And raised gilding is also common on the less mundane (smiling!).
    Cheers! John:
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    John Wocher
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    Post Number: 3167
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    Posted on Tuesday, December 12, 2006 – 06:31 am:

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    Paul and All – Not to convince myself (or others), Satsuma was produced in Kagoshima, Kyoto, Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, and Kanazawa by hundreds of known artists, in many styles and by literally thousands of unknown decorators. Meizan has pieces authenticated as being done in Kanazawa (Kutani). For most of the “Zan” brothers nothing is known, in spite of very good quality work, and many good studio pieces are simply unmarked. I was fooled by this one to be sure, so I’ll be fooled again, no doubt! Ha!
    Double Cheers,
    John:
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    John Wocher
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    Post Number: 3168
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    Posted on Tuesday, December 12, 2006 – 07:47 am:

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    Greetings -
    I got a great comment offline (actually two) that kept my hopes alive. If this is from the 1990s and Chinese, where did they obtain a high end 1910 style piece to study in 1990 to such perfection and find an artist to exquisitely duplicate a high end piece reproducing the flat gilding, shaded enamels, flat and multilayered gilding and locate a Meizan mark to copy on a smooth crackled surface on a vase weighing in at more than 25 lbs by conservative estimate for primarily an American and European market. And how did it end up in a lady’s home in rural Japan who bonded a base on it to keep her cats from knocking it over. Where there is no decoration, the glaze, although crackled is smooth and without seams, not like the Chinese Satsuma I am used to touching, which feels like fine sandpaper. Feel free to jump on one side or another. Maybe the jury is not in yet….?
    First four photos are pretty accurate for color. Others were close up with a hand held light and are a bit orangish. Triple Cheers, John

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    Roberta Enseki-Hancock
    Silver Pheasant
    Username: Sotech

    Post Number: 183
    Registered: 10-2004
    Posted From: amontpellier-257-1-98-60.w86-219.abo.wanadoo.fr

    Posted on Tuesday, December 12, 2006 – 08:22 am:

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    Dear John,

    I think your vase is spectacular! I agree with the offline comments you got, and hope that you are able to get more information from the experts. In the meantime, maybe you could use another vase for the flowers :-)

    Regards,
    Roberta

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    Arno Jacobs
    Peacock
    Username: Jcbs

    Post Number: 535
    Registered: 07-2004
    Posted From: pc85160025.fontys.nl

    Posted on Tuesday, December 12, 2006 – 09:05 am:

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    Dear John,

    I can say nothing about it except, if its hand painted, it’s art anyhow. Just wait a couple of years, and the world will see :-).

    Cheers,
    Arno

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    Tommy Eklöf
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    Post Number: 1698
    Registered: 04-2003
    Posted From: c-eec3e253.66-11-64736c11.cust.bredbandsbolaget.se

    Posted on Tuesday, December 12, 2006 – 11:56 am:

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    Hi John.

    It’s a beautiful vase IMO.
    If you compare with other works of Meizan (does the mark say Meizan?)what do you think? I have tried but I have not so much books of Japanese pieces. I have looked at Sotheby´s sales. If I compare I don’t think the painting style is the same. This painting is too stiff and I can’t recognize any of the flowers, borders, butterflies or the dotting styles on the other pieces.
    I hope I am terrible wrong. I have not seen any Chinese copies that can be compared by the Satsuma masters but I would like to know if there really are such copies.
    Unmistakable Chinese? If you ask the Chinese section they certainly say too stiff to be Chinese:-).

    Regards Tommy

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    John Wocher
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    Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 – 06:36 am:

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    Hi Tommy -
    It is hard to compare with Meizan (I have not seen his work close up), little is known of him, but we do know he did work in Kanazawa (and Osaka?). I have only seen photos, and most are smaller pieces. He does seem to like jet black, as appears in the cock’s tail. The mark is Meizan but I have not seen any color photographs of the mark. China, Taiwan and Hong Kong copy Satsuma, but the pieces I have seen are vastly inferior to this piece, and rarely, if ever use this amount of gilt. They are usually kind of rough to the touch, don’t have really fine small detail, and use a more crude moriage in most cases. Sandra said she saw a number of fine quality vases of this type in New York (Sothebys) about 1990 that were made in China, but in looking at this piece, it is difficult to believe it was mass produced – It would just seem to difficult and time consuming. It is nicely and evenly glazed inside, something that seems to be omitted or not quite of this quality in Chinese reproductions. If these were mass produced, I would think a few might surface now and then, and I’ll keep an eye out. I don’t have a terminal case of wishful thinking, but just enough lingering doubt. Meizan, like Shoza is exceedingly hard to attribute, but we can usually tell if the piece is Japanese. Looking for more opinions, always.
    Cheers,
    John

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    John Wocher
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    Post Number: 3171
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    Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 – 07:31 am:

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    Greetings – In looking at references, came across these in Treasures of Imperial Japan – Ceramics From The Kahili Collection, National Museum of Wales, Page 79 – Top mark almost identical – Maybe I am beating a dying horse….. And Louis Lawrence says identical calligraphy to mine on the vase on a Meizan attributed piece done in Kanazawa….. So… keeping this dying hope on life support….Ahhhhh…
    Cheers – John:
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    John Wocher
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    Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 – 07:46 am:

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    Greetings -
    Here they are, side by side. Not sure the Chinese have a copy of the National Museum of Wales exhibition catalog to copy the mark. It isn’t a perfect match, but pretty close?
    Cheers – John:
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    Hans Slager
    Dragon (Board Moderator)
    Username: Hansenclair

    Post Number: 2573
    Registered: 04-2003
    Posted From: ipd50a7fc3.speed.planet.nl

    Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2006 – 11:21 am:

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    Hi John
    Can you show us the whole base and a close-up of the foot ?

    Hans

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    John Wocher
    Dragon (Board Moderator)
    Username: Johninjapan

    Post Number: 3174
    Registered: 09-2003
    Posted From: 210.162.146.228

    Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2006 – 01:52 am:

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    Hello Hans -
    Here are four taken last week. If you want higher definition, happy to oblige. Edward Kawanabe looked at the vase, and felt it was a Kanazawa (Kutani) made piece copying work done when Meizan worked there. He said not Chinese.
    And, in the Satsuma book by Lawrence, there is a teapot with the Meizan mark on the spout. It is almost identical to the mark on my vase and the one above from a Kahili Collection piece.
    Cheers, John:
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    Howard Reed
    Golden Pheasant
    Username: Reedh

    Post Number: 974
    Registered: 05-2003
    Posted From: gpsspt1.dnr.nsw.gov.au

    Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2006 – 03:24 am:

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    Hello all, time to nail my colours to the mast.

    As I have told John off-site, I have absolutely no doubt that this piece is Japanese, and a very fine quality piece at that.

    Some time ago, we all had a long discussion about the different “Meizans”, see http://www.gotheborg.com/discus/read.php?file=/12129/90330.html

    There are 2 well recognised Meizans (altho not universally, it would seem) – the well-known Yabu Meizan, and the lesser known (and rather anonymous) Meizan, who used a different character for “mei”. It is this artist (not Yabu Meizan) who is represented here. There are other Meizans discussed in that thread also.

    I have had the privilege of seeing some of the off-board emails between John and his advisors.

    My views are:

    - definitely Japanese, and not Chinese
    - of the period which it purports to be (1910-25)
    - genuine work of the lesser known “Meizan”
    - marked “Satsuma” and clearly in Satsuma style, regardless of where it was made.
    - of the highest quality – decorated and painted by a well-practiced and probably “master”, which no faker could imitate.

    As said, little is known of this Meizan, and certainly Ian Heriot suggested in the other thread that he worked in Osaka. However, at least one pair of vases is known with this mark which is also marked as being done at Kanazawa in Kaga province (ie the Kutani area). This mark is also referenced (if not shown) in the other thread.

    One of John’s advisers has suggested that there are elements of Kutani style in this fantastic vase, and now that this is pointed out, I have to agree. Look at the focus on birds – the ducks, the crane, the chickens – and the butterflies, for example, and the way in which the birds are drawn. And the red and gold border around the neck.

    I have no problem with Meizan being either a) a Kutani based artist or b) visiting and working in Kanazawa even if he did work also in Osaka.

    But I still do not think this was done by another Kutani artist in homage (or rip off) of the celebrated but little known master.

    This is the real thing. I think it increases our understanding of Meizan and suggests that he spent a significant period of time in Kanazawa, regardless of whether he also worked elsewhere.

    Howard

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    John Wocher
    Dragon (Board Moderator)
    Username: Johninjapan

    Post Number: 3176
    Registered: 09-2003
    Posted From: 210.162.146.228

    Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2006 – 07:29 am:

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    Greetings All -
    Not sure whether here or in the Satsuma section it might be time to recap what is known or surmised regarding Meizan. Schiffer’s book on Imari and Satsuma doesn’t mention Meizan nor does her book Japanese Porcelain 1800 – 1950. Jenyns is silent since he is concerned mostly with porcelain, loathing “hideous chromo-lithographs of red and gold Kutani, brocaded Satsuma and other ceramic horrors…” with no mention of any Meizan. Meiji Ceramics by Jahn makes no mention of Meizan, and the catalog of pieces exhibited in Paris, Vienna, and Chicago show only Yabu Meizan pieces. Elain Strachan’s catalog of Satsuma pieces is absent any Meizan examples.
    Sandra Andacht’s book mentions only Yabu Meizan. Louis Lawrence in Satsuma says “The Meizan studios had no connection with those of Yabu Meizan.” The book shows two Meizan marks different than those of Yabu Meizan. Satsuma by Omori shows many pieces with the typed characters for Meizan (I presume Yabu Meizan) and in the actual markings shown, but no Meizan mark like the one on my vase. The National Museum of Wales shows many Yabu Meizan pieces and four Meizan pieces, and shows the marks of Meizan as different. Interestingly…”We have already noticed the work of another potter who used the name Meizan. The figures on his wares are markedly different from those of Yabu Meizan, hence the consciousness of his identity.” It goes on to say that Meizan followed the styles of Yabu Meizan, but does not elaborate much. Louis Lawrence in an email to me and another by Edward Kawanabe confirm a pair of vases by Meizan that also included Kanazawa in the inscription which would indicate to me that at least for a while Meizan worked in Kutani. Another source (can’t immediately recall where, but in my bookcase somewhere) indicated that another studio took the Meizan name and the works, although good, were not of the same quality. Can’t find the Satsuma at the Spinks I referred to in the other thread, but it referenced Meizan’s Kanazawa (Kutani) made vases too.
    For the record, Louis Lawrence authenticated and appraised this vase, indicating the same distinctive style of calligraphy was consistent with the Kanazawa Meizan vases mentioned, dating it 1910-1925 and pointed out the use of black in dating it as well as a rather Deco feel, particularly the dotted roundels in the duck background and the stylization of the cranes supporting both panels. I believe Sandra still feels it is a 1990 or thereabouts Chinese copy, and another colleague I heard from also says Chinese. Scott Loar posted today in a linked thread that he thought it was Chinese. Edward Kawanabe thinks probably Kutani copying a Meizan style. So… not a lot of consensus yet. I am with Howard on this one all the way, partly from wishful thinking but also because after holding it and looking at it closely, I just can’t imagine anyone copying this quality. Anyone wanting to add any factual information on Meizan is welcome to post it here. I have seen pictures of Yabu Meizan. If Meizan was active 1910-1924 concurrently with Yabu Meizan who died 1934, I would expect some biographical/historical/pictorial data would exist, whether he worked in Osaka, Kyoto or Kanazawa. Sheeesh!
    Quadruple Cheers – John

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    Diego Vatta
    Peacock
    Username: Diego

    Post Number: 677
    Registered: 11-2004
    Posted From: host53-222.pool8248.interbusiness.it

    Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2006 – 08:23 am:

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    Hi John, hello everybody.
    Let me say first of all that it would be better IMO to repost this thread to the appropriate Satsuma section, where it belongs, and not keep it relegated to a place that not everybody visits frequently.
    Secondly, this looks like a great piece decorated in a bold manner, by an artist that does not conform to traditional Satsuma looks but shows a definite character of his own in the use of lines, sgraffito-like brushstrokes and enamels. I am referring in particular to the cockerel’s neck feathers, head and crest.
    This artist had no time restraints.
    I find it hard to believe, like some advisors said, that somebody, somewhere in China, can avail himself of the visual information to copy a style of this kind to this level of perfection without being a master of the highest order himself, but the marks? And then, would his painstaking research and work end up in a local small shop where John has tea, instead of a high end shop or auction house?
    A very interesting thread, vase and case.
    Thanks for posting it, John, and thanks for your comments, Howard.
    Cheers,
    Diego

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    Scott Loar
    White Crane
    Username: Scottloar

    Post Number: 1353
    Registered: 10-2006
    Posted From: c-67-162-72-246.hsd1.il.comcast.net

    Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2006 – 08:33 am:

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    These more detailed photos I’ve just noticed convince me more than ever this piece is of Chinese make circa 1910-25.

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    Paul Seno
    Silver Pheasant
    Username: Paulseno

    Post Number: 257
    Registered: 03-2006
    Posted From: 203-214-122-164.dyn.iinet.net.au

    Posted on Thursday, December 14, 2006 – 08:36 am:

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    Hi all. I am starting to doubt that this is was ever really a Chinese copy . The shape, and overall quality does not look anything remotely like the Chinese Satsuma copies I have seen. Although I am not backing away from the inconsistencies I mentioned earlier, I still think the color pallete is not typical Satsuma. I just wonder whether this is a very late piece for this kind of pottery? Maybe 1930 to 1940 period. An example of the last of the very best? I am aware of the existence of other Meizen potters but not too familiar with there works.

    Regards
    Paul

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    Howard Reed
    Golden Pheasant
    Username: Reedh

    Post Number: 975
    Registered: 05-2003
    Posted From: gpsspt1.dnr.nsw.gov.au

    Posted on Friday, December 15, 2006 – 03:22 am:

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    Hello again,

    2 minor matters. Firstly, I misled readers when I said that the lesser known Meizan used a different character for “mei”. What actually differs (markedly) is the style of the calligraphy, rather than the character, which is the same. The lesser known Meizan uses a distinctive seal style, which never seems to have been recorded together with the characters for “yabu”.

    2ndly John, a couple more photos might be useful in gaining unanimity over provenance – focussing on the border pattern and colouring around the neck.

    Howard

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    Dean R Kelly
    Silver Pheasant
    Username: Gatorq

    Post Number: 61
    Registered: 03-2006
    Posted From: ac915112.ipt.aol.com

    Posted on Friday, December 15, 2006 – 04:07 am:

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    John,
    I really can not add anything meaningful to this discussion. I just wanted to thank you for sharing this piece. It is absolutely gorgeous. I especially like the duck. quack quack.

    I hope for your sake that Howard and others are right, that it is a piece by a Japanese master.

    Regards,
    Dean

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    John Wocher
    Dragon (Board Moderator)
    Username: Johninjapan

    Post Number: 3177
    Registered: 09-2003
    Posted From: 210.162.146.228

    Posted on Friday, December 15, 2006 – 07:45 am:

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    Greetings -
    Here are two neck rim photos:
    Cheers,
    John:
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    John Wocher
    Dragon (Board Moderator)
    Username: Johninjapan

    Post Number: 3178
    Registered: 09-2003
    Posted From: 210.162.146.228

    Posted on Friday, December 15, 2006 – 07:49 am:

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    And… in thinking of Kutani influence, this is a close up of one of two smaller panels on the shoulder:
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    John Wocher
    Dragon (Board Moderator)
    Username: Johninjapan

    Post Number: 3179
    Registered: 09-2003
    Posted From: 210.162.146.228

    Posted on Friday, December 15, 2006 – 07:54 am:

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    And the other panel – a Kingfisher – a very well known Kutani motif….
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    Jim Horne
    White Crane
    Username: Jimho

    Post Number: 1352
    Registered: 04-2004
    Posted From: 204.119.gr5.adsl.brightview.com

    Posted on Friday, December 15, 2006 – 09:54 am:

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    Hi John , List,
    OK, I am not a expert on anything, but would like to say that my first impression was high quality transfer printed vase with hand colouring , and modern , this seen not only because of the precision of the images ( I know satsuma artists were precise , but there seems a mechanical notion here ) the ducks look almost photographic.
    Then the condition, it is perfect , the gilding on the rim not a speck of wear , no obvious flake to any of the raised decor , take the palette used, I havent seen this combination of colours on Meiji period satsuma ( I havent seen it all ).
    The mark would be the easiest to copy. Now the roosters do look a bit Shoza in style ? why would a talented satsuma artist pay homage to a contemporary Kutani artist ? To close my first impressions I must go with China as origin, and late 20th C. as date. It is an impressive vase, beautiful decorative piece, and would be expensive no doubt, have I missed another masters work !!! ?
    Regards
    Jim

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    John Wocher
    Dragon (Board Moderator)
    Username: Johninjapan

    Post Number: 3180
    Registered: 09-2003
    Posted From: 210.162.146.228

    Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 – 12:37 am:

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    Hi Jim – Every opinion is really good to have.
    Below I attached detail from the rooster tail, where you can see the enamels up close. Very slightly raised, very precisely painted, and in some places individual brush strokes are evident. This appears on the ducks as well, although from a distance they appear photographic. When I revisited the shop on Wednesday, owner did not know much. He said he thought this was bought new before the war. Lady always had cats so base was mounted right away. It was then too awkward and heavy for her to move so stayed in one location. But like all stories, one cannot be sure. However, this could explain the lack of wear. Given its size and weight, and the glued on base, I expect it would not have been handled much. Base was Zitan, highly grained and expensive. I ruined it pulling it off, as some wood stuck to the rim with the bond. Both other vases from this lady had Zitan bases glued on them (both very large Oribe pieces).
    Cheers and Thanks,
    John:
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    John Wocher
    Dragon (Board Moderator)
    Username: Johninjapan

    Post Number: 3181
    Registered: 09-2003
    Posted From: 210.162.146.228

    Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 – 02:52 am:

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    And… Butterfly close-up with impressions:
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    John Wocher
    Dragon (Board Moderator)
    Username: Johninjapan

    Post Number: 3182
    Registered: 09-2003
    Posted From: 210.162.146.228

    Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 – 03:17 am:

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    Two more close ups:
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    Paul Seno
    Silver Pheasant
    Username: Paulseno

    Post Number: 264
    Registered: 03-2006
    Posted From: gatehouse1.dhs.vic.gov.au

    Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 – 04:43 am:

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    Hi John, I have just realized I have a porcelain bowl with similar rooster painting. The colors are similar also. The bowl is not as elaborate as your vase but dates from the 1930′s. It is Japanese but has different marks. I will post photos when I have time in a day or so. I am now fairly convinced that your vase is Japanese and likely dates to the late 1930′s

    Regards
    Paul

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    Paul Seno
    Silver Pheasant
    Username: Paulseno

    Post Number: 266
    Registered: 03-2006
    Posted From: 203-214-123-115.dyn.iinet.net.au

    Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 – 11:39 am:

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    Hi John, here the rooster bowl. Photos not too good because its dark. They look very similar to yours and its a similar color pallete. i don’t know who made it but I believe it is japanese and dates from the 1930′s.

    Regards
    Paul
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    Paul Seno
    Silver Pheasant
    Username: Paulseno

    Post Number: 267
    Registered: 03-2006
    Posted From: 203-214-123-115.dyn.iinet.net.au

    Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 – 11:42 am:

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    Upload

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    Jim Horne
    White Crane
    Username: Jimho

    Post Number: 1355
    Registered: 04-2004
    Posted From: 204.119.gr5.adsl.brightview.com

    Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 – 12:17 pm:

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    Hi John, Paul, List,
    Very good photos John and your analysis is very helpful , this would be great in a text book , should be in a text book , thank you.
    I am still unsure of this piece , it could 1930`s , though I feel the bowl Paul posted is another kettle of fish. I am puzzled by the enamel on the cocks tail you have shown, it looks rippled ? like it was applied in some other way than by brush ? then the large butterfly , you mention ” fine raised lines ” , that may mean some form of embossing , maybe silk screened like PCB`s ? This piece may be a very high tech production ? , I do see that there is skillful hand colouring here and there too. It is high quality.
    If you imagine the blank vase being firstly glazed , then a complete mesh of the whole pattern ( computer generated ) very carefully applied then fired to fix it , finally the washes and various shadings applied by hand ,then the gilt embossing overlaid and once more to the kiln. This is just musing John, I have no knowledge of this process if it exists its a good guess only.
    Then on the other hand….it may be all hand done by the Meizan studio in the Taisho period, ( where I have seen some of these colours ) So…. : )
    A good learning thread, and well presented.
    P.S. John, did the guy say why a base would deter cats ? or even make it more stable ? just a thought.
    Regards
    Jim

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    Hans Slager
    Dragon (Board Moderator)
    Username: Hansenclair

    Post Number: 2575
    Registered: 04-2003
    Posted From: ipd50a7fc3.speed.planet.nl

    Posted on Saturday, December 16, 2006 – 12:50 pm:

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    Hello John, all

    The striations/ripples observed in most opaque enamels are most peculiar. They suggest shrinkage or a mechanical reason. Many enamels are positioned on top of eachother but without clear signs of fusion. I don’t see any crackling in the enamels either. This all worries me quite some.

    John, have you tried sticking a glowing hot needle into the opaque enamels ?

    Hans

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    Lee Inness-Brown
    Silver Pheasant
    Username: Leeib

    Post Number: 166
    Registered: 11-2005
    Posted From: dpc691914035.direcpc.com

    Posted on Sunday, December 17, 2006 – 01:10 am:

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    Hi John,

    Here are some pictures of a small hexagonal pot, about 10 cm tall. The second photo is about 1.5X life size. It has good provenance which I believe it dates from about 1902-1925 (better dating available, but will take a bit of research to get the exact date). It was a wedding present to my wife’s forebearers.

    The scale of the piece is very different from your impressive vase, but the representation of the head of the rooster is remarkably similar, including the stippling on the comb and wattle.

    Best regards, Lee
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    John Wocher
    Dragon (Board Moderator)
    Username: Johninjapan

    Post Number: 3184
    Registered: 09-2003
    Posted From: 210.162.146.228

    Posted on Sunday, December 17, 2006 – 12:09 pm:

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    Greetings – For Jim – foot is relatively small given the girth, and although stable, I think a push would make it roll over. The Zitan base was quite large. For Hans, no, but I can try it. What do I look for? Some enamels are crackled slightly, most are not.
    Cheers,
    John

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    Hans Slager
    Dragon (Board Moderator)
    Username: Hansenclair

    Post Number: 2577
    Registered: 04-2003
    Posted From: ipd50a7fc3.speed.planet.nl

    Posted on Sunday, December 17, 2006 – 02:40 pm:

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    Hi John

    If 1990+ there is a possibility the enamels are what they call ‘porcelain paint’; some thermo-hardening substance that hardens at around 150 Celsius so DIY via the kitchen stove. Dishwasher proof etc. You may have used it yourself in your kutani painting efforts ? Possibly such substance may melt with the needle test, something which true enamels wouldn’t. You might also do the steel knife scratch test; true enamels don’t scratch (unless real force is exerted)

    Regards Hans

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    John Wocher
    Dragon (Board Moderator)
    Username: Johninjapan

    Post Number: 3185
    Registered: 09-2003
    Posted From: 210.162.146.228

    Posted on Tuesday, December 19, 2006 – 12:02 am:

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    Greetings Hans – Tried the scratch test last night. Enamels will not easily scratch, but if a fine point and enough pressure, I can see a line. Feels like glass and sounds like it when I tap the point on it. Will try the hot needle probably tonight or tomorrow. Not sure what this means yet. Cheers, John

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    John Wocher (Johninjapan)
    Dragon (Board Moderator)
    Username: Johninjapan

    Post Number: 3195
    Registered: 09-2003
    Posted From: 210.162.146.228

    Posted on Monday, December 25, 2006 – 09:03 am:

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    Greetings – I missed a nice exhibition on Yabu Meizan in Osaka last year, and although the catalog is no longer available, I talked the curator in to finding one for me and he kindly did (should arrive this week). It is interesting that we know so much about Yabu Meizan but virtually nothing about the other Meizan and they worked in a similar time line. Here is what Yabu looked like:
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    Cheers – John

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    Howard Reed (Reedh)
    Golden Pheasant
    Username: Reedh

    Post Number: 979
    Registered: 05-2003
    Posted From: gpsspt1.dnr.nsw.gov.au

    Posted on Wednesday, December 27, 2006 – 02:59 am:

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    Hi John and all,

    it will be interesting to see what the cattle dog (er, catalogue) has to say about Meizan marks.

    Having had more time to study and ruminate over the various photos, I haven’t changed my mind. It still looks to be a Satsuma vase (as marked!) done in what is very much a Kutani-influenced style. The cracked ice border seems okay in this regard also.

    I agree that the decoration has some intriguing features. The first is the perfection of the black outlining. It does rather suggest that stencils were used, although I suspect we will find that this was a lot more commonplace than we realise (if Yabu Meizan was doing it, I can’t see why the huge commercial studio of Kinkozan would have refrained). Stencils to me argue in favour of Japanese production, rather than Chinese, particularly if the date is agreed as early.

    Secondly, as Hans has pointed out – the ripples and shrinkage cracks in some of the solid enamel decoration. It does look like shrinkage. And I have never seen this in “hard” enamels. That hot pin test should determine whether they are acrylic or polymer in nature. But then, I really can’t see the Chinese using polymers around 1990 either.

    At this stage, we have 3 opinions:

    - Japanese and of the period 1910-25
    - Chinese copy and of the period circa 1910-25
    - Chinese copy, circa 1990.

    Where to from here?

    Howard

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    John Wocher (Johninjapan)
    Dragon (Board Moderator)
    Username: Johninjapan

    Post Number: 3206
    Registered: 09-2003
    Posted From: 210.162.146.228

    Posted on Wednesday, December 27, 2006 – 03:10 am:

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    Hi Howard, not sure – Hot pin test tonight or tomorrow. Georges Bouvier arrives in about an hour and the Champagne is chilled. We will gulp some Daiginjo afterwards, pound down some beers, open a 1990 Chateau Margaux and increase our IQ by several points and ponder the possible Kutani origin of this vase. If imitation is the best form of flattery, why does Meizan stand in the very dark shadow of Yabu Meizan? Is it possible the pundits are wrong, and they are one and the same…? Well, off to pick up Georges at the train station and hit a few local antique haunts!
    Cheers!
    John

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    Dean R Kelly (Gatorq)
    Silver Pheasant
    Username: Gatorq

    Post Number: 71
    Registered: 03-2006
    Posted From: aca46ef3.ipt.aol.com

    Posted on Saturday, December 30, 2006 – 06:18 am:

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    John,
    I am champing at the bit (southern USA term) to hear what you found out about your vase. Anything of note from your get together with Georges?
    I have followed this thread with fascination as you dig up information and do a methodical review of this lovely vase. Thanks to all for sharing their insight.
    Regards,
    Dean

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    Hans Slager (Hansenclair)
    Dragon (Board Moderator)
    Username: Hansenclair

    Post Number: 2582
    Registered: 04-2003
    Posted From: ipd50a7fc3.speed.planet.nl

    Posted on Saturday, December 30, 2006 – 01:52 pm:

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    Hi John, all

    I tried the hot needle test on a restored piece on which regular paint was used to decorate the restored areas. I found I couldn’t burn a hole in the paint presumably because the heat holding capacity of the needle-tip is too low and the contact area is small. Likely a bigger object than a needle is necessary to get the job done.

    I have been looking at the vase a dozen times and still don’t get a good feel for it. Sorry.

    1. As said I just don’t understand several phenomena of the ‘enamels’ which is most worrying.
    2. On a highly detailed vase like this why are the marks so poorly positioned to eachother ?
    3. I find the male duck out of proportion (slightly too long a body); it really could/should have been done better. The Japanese were masters in realistic drawing of natural objects.
    4. The wisteria leaves, very common on Japanese porcelain, are not very well drawn either. Lee’s vase is much better and classic in style.

    Nevertheless it remains a pleasure to look at but these are my criticisms.

    Cheers and have a great time with Georges !
    Hans

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    John Wocher (Johninjapan)
    Dragon (Board Moderator)
    Username: Johninjapan

    Post Number: 3213
    Registered: 09-2003
    Posted From: 210.162.146.228

    Posted on Wednesday, January 10, 2007 – 05:50 am:

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    Greetings -
    Probably the last word (but without resolution). I tried the hot pointed object on three points where I thought it may be undetected. At each point a very tiny black mark was left, which almost rubbed completely off, but it was like touching glass – very hard, even with some mild pressure. Georges looked at it when he was here, but I don’t feel he felt it was of Kutani origin, but we didn’t spend much time looking at it. Agree mark placement not usual, but have not seen many Meizan marks to conclude unlikely though, but concur odd. Thanks to all who contributed. My conclusion, a Satsuma-like vase of good quality with an atypical Meizan mark for which precise origin and dating is not yet established, but with an appraisal dating it 1910 – 1925 Satsuma of Japanese origin, marked Meizan.
    Double Cheers,
    John

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    Paul Seno (Paulseno)
    Peacock
    Username: Paulseno

    Post Number: 329
    Registered: 03-2006
    Posted From: 203-214-127-122.perm.iinet.net.au

    Posted on Wednesday, January 10, 2007 – 10:48 am:

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    Hi John, I tend to agree with you except that I think it dates to the 1930′s.
    Regards
    Paul

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  6. GARY FORBES says:

    We have several pieces of what we assume are post war Japanese porcelain pieces the first a clown cookie jar with the mark “8979 JAPAN” the second is a delicate sugar bowl “hand painted” and what looks like “TRIOO NAGOYA JAPAN” If anyone can help me establish the provenance of these I would appreciate the assistance.

    • john Turner says:

      Greetings Gary, I too have recently bought a japanese piece with the “Handpainted Troo nagoya-Japan” hallmark. I have just begun my search for info. Perhaps you would share anything you have learned. This is a 6″ aprox tall vase, with a large flaring mouth aprox 3″ diam. Vase also has Coraline Beading. At the moment I am focusing on the hallmark. Thanks so much for any help you may offer.

      John

      • john Turner says:

        Greetings,
        I noticed your item with the hallmark “Handpainted Trico Nagoya-Japan. I recently acquired a vase with the hallmark “Handpainted Trioo Nagoya-Japan”. While my hallmark is clear and easily read it isn’t as industrial as yours. Meaning is bolder and of more pronounced print. My question is, have you ever heard of and can you suggest any postings to find “Handpainted Trico Nagoya-Japan”? Any help will be appreciated and thank you so much.

        JT

  7. Arno Jacobs says:

    Thanks John,

    Reading your interview again I realize that you are a good master. This interview reflects my way of collecting very good and I think that I am touched by your thoughts when I get starting collecting Japanese porcelain some 7 years ago. My first Japanese piece came from you in 2004 and since we stay in contact.

    Thanks pal for being my inspiration.

    Kind regards,
    Arno

  8. Dear Mr Worchr,
    I am in current negotiating discussions with the Keisei Isogaya Museum for a pair of Kutani Ichinichi Sei/ Ichi Hi Sei vases that are in mint condition. They are offering us 12,500 USD. From your extensive experience would you think that is a fair value? Item is listed under item 1401 of the ‘gotheborg.com’ web site under Kutani japanese markings. Any advice would greatly be appreciated. Sincerely, Randy McKinney

  9. Lelia Trones says:

    What an amazing collection! It was interesting to learn how John handles his collection and displays. What a wonderful opportunity to be in another country and to be able to search out many rare examples of their arts and crafts. http://leliasteaware.com

  10. Elise says:

    Awesome Japanese ceramics Photos, Diversity of Japanese Design is wonderful.
    Here, a gallery in Paris, which has nice japanese art pieces:
    Yakimono Art

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