Incense Burner (koro) and Cover with Molded and Reticulated Design

Period: Edo period (1615–1868)

Date: 18th century

Culture: Japan

Medium: Satsuma ware, earthenware with clear glaze

Dimensions: H. (with cover) 3 3/4 in. (9.5 cm)

Classification: Ceramics

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1919

Accession Number: 19.14.2a–c


The cover as well as the body of this three-legged incense burner is molded and reticulated. The earthenware body is covered with a transparent, slightly yellowish crackled glaze, a typical glazing technique for Satsuma ware. Satsuma ware was produced in Satsuma Province in Kyushu from the sixteenth century by Korean potters brought over to Japan; later Satsuma ware was produced in Kyoto as well (Kyoto Satsuma). The body's material represents a transition between porcelain and earthenware, fired at a lower temperature than porcelain. The harmonic proportions and the delicate curves of the object, as well as its undecorated surface, are indicative of the earlier history of Satsuma ware. By the mid-Meiji period (1868–1912), Satsuma ware was extensively decorated in overglaze polychrome paint and gold depicting bird-and-flower compositions, scenes inspired by woodblock prints, or similar popular Japanese imagery to satisfy the demands of Westerners. After Satsuma pieces were introduced at the 1867 Paris Exposition, they became popular among Western collectors, but the most appreciated collectibles for connoisseurs remained early Satsuma ware.