Sunday, February 27, 2011
When you mention the word "Satsuma" to a button collector, the word "Japan" also comes to mind. This Japanese faience (glazed pottery),which is noted for its finely crackled underglaze, its cream, yellow-cream, or gray-cream color, and its decoration of raised enamel, is so popular with button and ceramic collectors that the name has become synonymous with Japan.
Much has been written about determining the age of Satsuma buttons by the shank. The oldest buttons have a curved needle shank, next were the slightly raised with the top of the shank unglazed but rounded on the edges. As the years pasted, the shanks got higher and higher and the edges of the shanks became sharper. Many people like to try and determine age by the backmark, but this is not an accurate method as backmarks in Japan, both written and incised, were bought, sold, traded and copied as common practice. In other words, if a buyer found that a line of buttons marked with a certain backmark was popular, he might conceivably go to another maker and order similar buttons at a cheaper price but with the same backmark. Therefore, even though there are valid backmarks, backmarks on these buttons cannot be taken too seriously and for the most part, they cannot be used to determine age or authenticity.
The above 3 buttons are my favorite..ball shaped with birds, the 2 ex large..7 gods, and Satsuma temple.