Shiro Satsuma-Yaki Plate by Mr Hirota

Key information

10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Brunei Gallery
Brunei Gallery Foyer
Event type

About this event

This piece of Shiro (white) Satsuma-Yaki was presented to the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, by Mr Hirota as Satsuma Kinrande artist Saneyuki, on Thursday 12th July 2001. It is on display here as part of the Japan 2001 festival.

In the centre is a painting of the helmet used by Lord Shimazu, surrounding this is one of the Shimazu crests and Shochikubai in gold. Shochikubai consists of three parts being: sho = matsu (pine tree); chiku = take (bamboo) and bai = ume (plum tree), all of which are considered good omens in Japan.

The decorations that were presented to the Japanese Prime Minister, Masayoshi Matsukata, by Queen Victoria are included in the design around the edge of the dish at the top and bottom. Included also are the union flag of the United Kingdom and the symbol of Satsuma, on the left and right respectively. These are all as symbols of the long friendship between the U.K. And Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan.

Satsuma-Yaki (Satsuma Pottery) is normally classified into two types: Shiro (white) Satsuma and Kuro (black) Satsuma.

In 1598 'Shimazu Yoshihiro', the Lord of the Satsuma Clan, now the Kagoshima Prefecture, took potters from Korea, they produced painted Shiro Satsuma of a quality which had never been seen before. The kiln for these took on a great importance for producing wares for offerings and trade, as a result Shiro Satsuma became widely spread and desirable notably in Europe.

Shiro Satsuma became especially popular in Europe following the Paris International Exhibition of 1867, during the Keio period, where it has since been referred to as 'Satsuma Bland'. Prior to this Kuro Satsuma had been available and used for everyday ware for some time.

Contact email: gallery@soas.ac.uk