Crackle Glaze Green Biowl

Started by Kaaren B., Apr 22, 2024, 03:05:59

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Kaaren B.

Can anyone identify the mark on the bottom of this bowl? It has a beautiful crackle glaze sparingly decorated, with a mark I cannot identify. Thanks! Kaaren


I don't know this but the mark reads Matsue,

Kaaren B.

Thanks, Peter! I will look it up. I think it may be earthenware, not porcelain, as it is very heavy and gives a dull thud when tapped, not a "ping". The glaze is beautiful and my photos don't do justice to it.

I got both this and the little lidded censer/incense burner at the moving sale of a couple cleaning out the home of apparently very elderly Japanese parents who had passed on. Kaaren

Kaaren B.

Well, I looked up Matsue, and the city appears to have several very well known kilns/styles of pottery: Sodeshi, Rakuzan, and Fujina. Fujina is known for slipware pottery; Sodeshi for more western-style pottery in warm, natural colors; and Rakuzan, which began in 1677, and specializes in earthenware pottery. Given that my round vase here is undoubtedly earthenware, I'm guessing it is from the Rakuzan kilns in Matsue. Very pleased, indeed, with this purchase, and thank you so much for identifying "Matsue" without which I couldn't have gotten this far. Kaaren 


Kaaren B.

Some additional information from more research into Rakuzan pottery, a technique called "salt glaze", which produces the beautiful sheen and crackle glaze that my vase exhibits. Apologies if this is already known. Needless to say, I am thrilled with my $5 purchase!

"In the final stage of firing,  salt is thrown in the kiln and salt glaze is applied on the surface of the cup. The surface has very soft and elegant shine.
The color of the body  is very attractive gradation of nuance blue, grey, warm reddish brown. These color is made in firing in kiln. ( Oxygen in the kiln make it warm color)
The color is unexpected even for the artist.
The whole surface has very sensitive crack of glazing. It is also beauty of the salt glazing works.
The artist Fujiwara Kou is a member of Fujiwara Family in Bizen, who is famous for Bizen Rakuzan Salt Kiln.

The first generation Fujiwara Rakuzan invented the salt blue firing in 1896
Second generation Fujiwara Rakuzan (Important Intangible Cultural Property)
Third generation Fujiwara Rakuzan
Fujiwara Kou is 4th" 


This is a recent copy of a Korean 14th century bowl.


Hah, you are right, Stan.
Its shiny glaze and decoration look so Japanese that I did not realize this. The green glaze and mark type look indeed Korean; but it could also be a Japanese copy in that style. The shape might be a bit different from the usual Korean styles, though.



May I ask you an unrelated question. Your post was enclosed in some sort of font code. Looks as if you copied it from somewhere. We have getting such code for some time and I had to remove it manually...

Could you tell me from what type of source you copied that, and what application you used to paste it, please? If we know how it happens then we might be able to resolve the problem of the code. And, were you using a PC or other device?

Thanks anyway

Kaaren B.

Hi, all. You guys are good! I started at the "visit Matsue" site, which, in the Local Pottery section, mentioned the Korean influence over Rakuzan output - "located near Shimane University and was a favorite of the lords of Matsue". I got the other paragraph from another site which I now can't find - there were quite a few on the subject.

You spotting the Korean influence makes me certain now that this earthenware (it weighs a ton) piece is from the Rakuzan kiln in Matsue, Japan. My photography doesn't do justice to the beauty of the glaze or the fine crackle glaze.

I didn't realize the font code would appear till after I hit "post". I am using an old laptop (like, 2010!), and the site was one that was dedicated specifically to the history of Matsue pottery. I'll try to find it later today. Kaaren


Thanks Kaaren. I think I just found what causes it.
It happened to me too when I answered the other post. Inadvertently, I left Japanese language input switched on initially, when typing English, I did not change that initial setting from the text after changing language. As a result the code appeared too.  Now I can try to find a remedy for the forum.   :-)

Kaaren B.

Slight Postscript to this one. I did further searching and found a very similar "moon jar" as these spherical pieces are called, similar color and decoration, AND the identical mark on the bottom, being sold by RubyLane AS Korean, not a Japanese made but Korean influenced piece (for several hundred dollars).

It is the only place I found the same mark under a very similar piece. I have no idea who RubyLane is and how reliable they are, but either they couldn't read the mark properly and went with what the vase "looked like", or, perhaps it IS Korean?

I wish I had taken better photos of the beautiful soft jade color and fine crackle glaze. K.


Hi Kaaren,

Well, it 'might' be Korean. The signed name may well be used on both sides Korea and Japan.
What I can confirm is that the glaze and decoration colors look Korean. The same is valid for the mark style. But you should know that any items with this tone of celadon, and any items with marks are likely 20th century or later. In the Koryeo and Joseon dynasties ceramics were not marked.
Some Korean craftsmen began to recreate old items in the 20th century. But I do not know about the neckless mouth, never saw that. "Moon jar" is the name given to round white items, usually. Often they are big! I do have never seen a celadon one. 
Basically, celadon was the main decoration in the Koryeo dynasty which ended in 1392. In the following Joeseon dynasty (another approx. 500 yrs) white wares with or without decoration were the main line of ceramic products. Ancient celadon had a bit a different color tone, a bit resembling olive green, unlike the 20th century celadon.


A few hundred for a marked item? As I said, marked items are not that old, less than 100 years mostly, as far as I know. But...I don't really know the price of modern items.
Korea has something similar like Japan, they call some current or recent craftsmen "human national treasures". Not sure if that lifts the price of their items, but still, their items are usually not antiques. If you intend to buy something Korean, you might show it here first. Not sure if I can help with those, but I have been collecting a few items mostly celadon from the Goryeo dynasty over the past years. Those celadons are often easy to recognize due to their "ugly" firing spurs on the bottom.

One more question, why do you call that a "crackle glaze"? Is there some crackling that is not visible in the pictures. Just curious, because crackle ware doesn't seem to be a Korean ceramic product, normally. Invisible crackling is normal in many wares, though.

Kaaren B.

Thank you both for the helpful comments. Prices on ceramics on places like Ebay or Etsy and, it appears, RubyLane, don't always align with reality (she said tactfully). I've heard the same from coin collectors, who warn that common coins barely worth face value are sold on Ebay by crooks claiming rarity for high prices. The gentleman in Gloucester, MA, also named Peter, who puts up such edifying videos on Asian ceramics, has said much the same thing about vendors selling Asian ceramics on Ebay.

Yes, there is a very fine crackle throughout the glaze, which my poor old phone and its sadly limited photo abilities totally missed.

I did find, in trying to get more info on this matter, mention of works being made as part of a "Goryeo Revival". I wonder if this piece might have been made as part of this revival, now that you mention similar marks being used by both Japan and Korea?

I hadn't started out to buy Korean, I picked this up for $5 at a yard sale in Tenafly, NJ, only because I thought it beautiful and because I saw that it was earthenware, not porcelain, and therefore more interesting. I have tons of porcelain. I have very little genuine quality earthenware except for the Satsuma piece I listed here in the past, as well as genuine 19th century English ironstone.

It was the earthenware bit that seemed persuasive of the Rakuzan kiln in Matsue, which is said to specialize in earthenware, and the interesting bit about the impact of salt on the glaze color.

We may never know the truth of it, but you may imagine how startled I was to find a vase very similar to this with the same mark described as Korean.

I have never bought ceramics from Ebay or Etsy, their prices are beyond me even if they are realistic.

LOL - I picked up last year a stunning New England Pottery (the old one, not the existing one) chocolate pot in Habitat for Humanity for  . .  $8.00. It is from the company's Japonaise/Chinoise period, thus done about 1880, not a scratch or chip on it, and because of the Asian influence in design, looks beautiful with my Asian ceramics.

That's about my economic speed on this stuff, and, as with the New England Pottery chocolate pot, every once in awhile I get lucky. I just go where I suspect people running the place don't know what they have.

Thanks for replies, all further info welcome, but whatever the truth of it, I am loving my lusciously round soft jade color crackle glaze acquisition. K.


Just a quick note, I did not mean Japan and Korea used the same marks, I meant some Koreans and Japanese have similar names. Japanese are less likely to put their names on the ceramics.
The reading "Matsue" provided is a standard reading of the characters in Japanese, but I do not know if there is a craftsman with that exact name in Korean, actually. Might be... They write their names in Chinese characters (Kanji) on ceramics although the common language now uses exclusively Korean writing. That is a place or person's name may have the same Chinese characters, but would read differently in each.