Satsuma Incense Burner by Ryuzan, late 19th century


Artist: Ryuzan
Title: Satsuma incense burner
Date: late 19th century
Dimensions: Main body - (D) 14 cm, (H) 6.5 cm. Lid opening (D) 6.5 cm
Signed on the base in a gilt square 'Ryuzan'.

Original Japanese antique.

A square-shaped with indented corners Satsuma koro (incense burner) finely decorated with cartouches depicting scenes of courtly figures and their daily life with delicate artistry. Raised on four feet, the domed cover pierced, enameled and topped by a lobed finial.

The style of painting on this vase is known as Kinran-de (gild on). The scenes depicted are those of entertainment and leisure for the upper classes of Japanese society during the Heian (794-1191) and later Edo (1600-1867) periods. Kinran-de pottery, with designs of this kind, are rarely seen in Japan and were almost exclusively produced for export markets.

Kodo, the art of appreciating Japanese incense is counted as one of the three classical Japanese arts of refinement, along with kado for flower arrangement, and chado for tea and the tea ceremony.

The bottom sides of the koro are decorated with phoenixes and waves. The counterpart of the dragon in Japanese mythology, the phoenix (ho-o) was adopted as a symbol of the imperial household, particularly the empress. This mythical bird represents fire, the sun, justice. According to some legends, the ho-o appears only in peaceful and prosperous times and heralds the beginning of a new era.

More Information
DimensionsMain body - (D) 14 cm, (H) 6.5 cm. Lid opening (D) 6.5 cm
Condition ReportWear consistent with age and use. Minor gilt loss.
SubjectMale & Female, Ghosts & Religion
Product Datelate 19th century