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Japanese Porcelain Marks

Totai Shippo (Shippo=Cloisonné)

According to Gary Yoshino, who wrote, "Japanese Cloisonné Enamels," "Totai Shippo" is the broad descriptive term for cloisonné on ceramics, earthenwares, and porcelain. It has the appearance of metallic cloisonné ware, however some parts of the surface might be left decorated as normal blue an white porcelain.

The renaissance of Japanese cloisonné manufacture is credited to the former samurai, Kaji Tsunekichi (1803-1883) of Nagoya in Owari Province (modern Aichi Prefecture) who rediscovered the art around 1835. Around 1850 he was confident enough to take on students.

One of these was Hayashi Shogoro (d.1896), a craftsman sadly enough mostly celebrated for the fact that his pupils in their turn became the teachers of many of the later masters of cloisonné enamelling. Of these, the most important was Sukamoto Kaisuke (1828-1887).

Sukamoto Kaisuke (1828-1887)

Sukamoto Kaisuke (1828-1887) is believed to have been the one who discovered, some time around 1868, the technique of applying cloisonné enamels to ceramic vessels. The innovation was relatively short-lived.

Similar ware but with inlaid silver wires on porcelain is called jiki shippo.

Jan-Erik Nilsson

Introductory text written by and together with several expert members of the Gotheborg Discussion Board.

Shippo Gaisha, Takeuchi Chubei
Takeuchi Chubei was one of the most prolific artists associated with Shippo-Gaisha who produced totai shippo pieces, typically on fine white porcelain bodies. Most examples bear a detailed mark on the base inscribed in dark blue or red enamel.
1573. Vase. Mark: Dai Nippon, Sei-zo Shippo Gaisha, Takeuchi Chubei, "Made in Great Japan, by the cloisonné company, Takeuchi Chubei". Japan, tentative date ca 1880, Meiji period

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1574. Vases. Mark: Dai Nippon Sei Zo, Shippo Gai Sha (Great Japan, cloisonné manufacturing company), Ko Jin (personally made) Takeuchi Chubei, 994.

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1575. Vases. Seto ware with Totai Shippo decoration. Due to proximity between Nagoya and Seto, a large proportion of the porcealin was used appears to have come from Seto. Some pieces have marks from both Seto, in underglaze blue, as well as from the cloissoné artist, in iron red.

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The marks section of was initially established in May 2000 thanks to a generous donation of approximately one hundred images of Japanese porcelain marks, by Karl-Hans Schneider from Euskirchen, Germany. This contribution provided a modest yet substantial beginning of the Marks Section. It was a kind gesture that I really appreciated.

Of the many later contributors, I would especially want to mention Albert Becker, Somerset, UK, who was the first to help with some translations and comments on the Japanese marks. His work was then greatly extended by Ms. Gloria S. Garaventa, after which Mr. John Avery looked into and corrected some of the dates. Most of the Satsuma marks were originally submitted by Ms. Michaela Russell, Brisbane, Australia. A section which was then greatly extended by Ian & Mary Heriot, a large amount of information from which still awaits publication.

A warm thank you also goes to John R. Skeens, Florida, U.S.A., and Toru Yoshikawa for the Kitagawa Togei section, and to Susan Eades for her help and encouragement towards the creation of the Moriyama section. For the last full overhaul of the Satsuma and Kutani sections, thank you to Howard Reed, Australia. The most recent larger contribution was made by Lisa M. Surowiec, New Jersey, USA.

In 2004 and from then on, my warm thank you goes to John Wocher and Howard Reed, whose knowledge and interest have sparked new life into this section and given reason for a new overhaul. Thank you again and thank you to all I have not mentioned here, for all help and interest in and contributions to our knowledge of 20th-century Japanese porcelain.

The Chinese marks section would not have been possible without the dedicated help of Mr. Simon Ng, City University of Hong Kong, whose translations and personal efforts in researching the origin and dates of the different marks have been an invaluable resource. It has since been greatly extended by several contributors such as Cordelia Bay, USA, Walt Brygier, USA, Bonnie Hoffmann, Harmen Lensink, 'Tony' Yalin Zhang, Beijing, 'ScottLoar', Shanghai, Mike Harty, and many more expert members of the Gotheborg Discussion Board.

A number of reference pieces have also been donated by Simon Ng, N K Koh, Singapore, Hans Mueller, USA, Hans Slager, Belgium, William Turnbull, Canada, and Tony Jalin Zhang, Beijing.

All images and text submitted by visitors and published anywhere on this site are and remain the copyrighted property of the submitter and appears here by permission of the owners which can be revoked at any time. All information on this site, that are not specifically referenced to peer reviewed sources, are the personal opinions given in good faith by me, my friends and fellow experts, based on photos and the owners' submitted descriptions. They are not to be used for any financial or commercial decisions, but for educational and personal interest only, and can and will be changed as further information merits.

For further studies, Encyclopedia Britannica is to be recommended in preference to Wikipedia, which, not being peer-reviewed, might contain misleading information.

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