How to decode a Kutani

How to find a Marking or a ceramic in the database

Case 1 : You can read the name written on the back of the piece

  • First select from the database menu : Seals & Marking by.... Potter Family Name. A list of potter names will appear,
  • if the name does not show up in this list, try : by Potter Pen Name,
  • then finally : Seals & Marking by.... Kiln/trading,
  • if it still does not appear, then the name is not in the database. Ask the Gotheborg forum and your piece may be added later to the database.
  • However if you find one corresponding marking, you can check also if a photo of a piece exists in the database, to do this select : View Ceramics by... Kiln/trading or Potter Family name or Potter Pen Name depending in which list you find it previouly. You may get a photo of the corresponding piece. This is not always the case as there are a little more photos of marking than ceramics.
  • Note : Many Japanese names have the same english pronunciation and writing although the kanji characters are different. So be careful to select the proper name!
  • Many artists are known under their Family name or their Potter Pen name. some may have several Pen not always easy to find the correct person.

Case 2 : You cannot read the name, But you can recognize few kanji

  • Select Search by kanji in the Seals & Marking Menu. If you need help to use kanji search just click here!

Case 3 : You can recognize the type of marking (Fuku, Dainippon, Generic, Kaga, English marking)

  • Select Seals & Marking by Type
  • Select the type of Marking you want and browse through the can be quite long for kanji marking or generic.
  • To get help to recognize Marking type just click here!

Remark :
Concerning the Generic marking, there is generally no way to identify who was the painter, unless you have the corresponding box with the name written on it. Most of the time pieces having a generic mark were rather industrially produced except during early period (Edo, Meiji..) where painter did not usually sign there production.

Case 4 : Looking for signature on calligraphy

There are two ways:

  • 1) Select View ceramics by...., then select Style, and Japanese Calligraphy
    • You will find the list of all the pieces which are in the data base, but calligraphy is always signed inside the pot, the seal or marking on the back of the piece is only the name of the painter, producer, shop, kiln.... almost never the name of the calligraphist.
  • 2) Select Calligraphy....
    • You have there several lists, if you cannot find it, you can browse through the entire list by selecting all calligraphists or all kilns. There are no so least famous!
    • Just try to match your signature with those from the data base.

Case 5 : You cannot find anything

  • Sorry but do not ask webmaster, you have 2 alternatives :
    • ask Gotheborg forum
    • get opinion from Kutani Ceramic Website Get Opinion