How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Robert S. Your Own Question
Robert S.
Robert S., Antiques and Collectibles Researcher
Category: Antiques
Satisfied Customers: 5772
Experience:  Expert in decorative arts especially ceramics, silver, paintings, and furniture.
Type Your Antiques Question Here...
Robert S. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have inherited an Asian vase & pedestal that came into the

Customer Question

I have inherited an Asian vase & pedestal that came into the family at the beginning of the 20th century. I am trying to find out about it. Can you direct me to someone here locally? I also have digital pictures. Thank you, ***** ***** KY
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Antiques
Expert:  Robert S. replied 1 year ago.

Hi Barbara,

My name is ***** ***** I would be happy to appraise your Asian vase and pedestal right here on line.

All I need are the photos, including a photo of the entire bottom (whether it's marked or not).

Also if you could give me the dimensions, I will need those too. Just the heights of each piece will be sufficient.

Many thanks and wait to hear,

Robert S.

PS. Once you have the photos in your computer (if you are using a smart phone camera, just email them to yourself) it's then a simple matter to attach them. Just click on the paperclip icon, located above the text box where you are typing to me. If there's no paperclip, click on the "Add files" tab.

If you get stuck go here for help.

PPS. You will not be charged anything unless or until you accept my answer, except for the good faith deposit you made (which is also refundable on request).

Also, please don't respond to any phone request, it will cost you an extra $18 which you don't need to pay. The phone requests appear to come from me, but do NOT, they are automatically generated by the site. I don't work for JustAnswer, I operate as an independent appraiser and I use this site simply as a marketing tool, so have no control over what they put on your screen! Hope this makes sense. R

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response.
I don't have the exact measurements and the piece is at the other house. A rough guess is that the pedestal stands 3' and the vase is between 24-30" tall.I can get better measurements this weekend if needed.Barb
Expert:  Robert S. replied 1 year ago.

Great pictures, thanks for those, I can see exactly what you have.

This is a lovely piece and a great pedestal, too!

Leave this with me and I'll have a full answer and a value for you as soon as can.


Expert:  Robert S. replied 1 year ago.

By the way, four images came through my end. So if you sent more than that, please can you attach them again. Not sure why they don't seem to stick, but sometimes that happens.


Expert:  Robert S. replied 1 year ago.

So this is Japanese (as opposed to Chinese), a bulbous footed vase with oriental phoenix head and wing handles, which style dates it to the late Meiji period, circa 1880 - 1900.
The decoration is known as Satsuma 'yaki' or Satsuma export ware, and the figures on the side that I can see are two court ladies and a boy framed in boldly painted vining flowers that look like they might be abutilon, a great favorite of the Japanese. I'm guessing there's possibly a Samurai warrior general and other male figures on the other side (assuming, as I can't see all the way round the vase).

Satsuma is both an aesthetic style and a type of pottery and it's also a region. Originally all Satsuma was produced near Kagoshima at the very southern tip of Kyushu on the southern island of Japan but later it became so popular in the West that production expanded to Osaka, Tokyo, Yokohama, Kagoshima, Kobe, Nagoya and Kyoto.
At the time your vase was made, the bulk of it was being produced in Kyoto and exported to the west via Kobe. Your style of export ware Satsuma has now come to be known as "Kyoto Satsuma".
One can almost always recognize Satsuma by the fine crazing it often has. I can just make it out on the base. It's not age crazing, it was created intentionally when the piece was fired in the kiln. The clay is earthenware (rather than porcelain) and should have a somewhat dull sound when you tap it, unlike porcelain which 'pings' with a sustained note when tapped.

The raised paste enamel in the beautiful brocade patterns, particularly around the neck and shoulder and foot of the vase, is an elaborate and hard-to-do decorative technique that the Japanese call moriage -pronounced "mori-ah-gay". It's a process similar to icing a cake with a piping bag. The colored paste-like slip is squeezed through a tube, and the resulting decoration is characteristic of this "Nippon era" art pottery, so called after the old name for Japan, prior to 1920.

The mark on the bottom of the footrim is two kanji inscription that's too indistinct to read.
Kyoto Satsuma export ware often has curious marks like this, that look like they are maker's marks but are not. It's generally agreed that these are fettler's marks, or internal factory codes or numbers for groups or pairs of vases.

As for value, sadly this kind of Japanese decoration is not as sought after by collectors as it once was and prices have softened from what they were say a generation ago. Antiques are subject to fashion like anything else and values go in cycles so this will change, I'm sure.

For the moment, if you saw an identical vase for sale in an antique store it would have a full retail price of about $2500. This is also the replacement value for insurance purposes.

The ebonized or lacquered wood pedestal stand is a particularly fine example of Meiji furniture and I would insure it for $1250.
Expect to get in the range of 30% - 40% of these values if you were to sell at a good antique auction house.

I do hope this helps.
Please let me know if you'd like me to explain or expand on any of the above, I would be glad to.
Best wishes,
Robert S.