How to find a potter, a calligraphist or kiln in the database

All potters, calligraphists and producers have been listed using different criteria. However before looking for a particular person or kiln, you have to understand how Japanese name works. I recommend reading the chapter "Japanese Potter & kiln names

Case 1: You know a potter or kiln name and you want to see pieces made by this specific potter or kiln and you want to know his history

  • First select from the database menu: Database, Potters by....
    • Family Name, a list of potter family names will appear,
  • if the name does not show up in this list, try by ….
    • Pen Name, a list of potter family names will appear,
  • If nothing, select Calligraphist, by....
    • Family Name,
    • Pen name,
  • If nothing, select Producers, by....
    • Kiln, trading & Producers, if it still does not appear, then the name is not in the database.

However, if you find one corresponding name, you can check also if photo(s) of a piece exists in the database, to do this click on the link "List", and all pieces made under this name will appear. This is not always the case as there are a little more photo of marking than ceramics.
You can also click on ‘History’ when available.

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 either under their Family name or their Potter Pen name. Some may have several Pen names... so it is not always easy to find the correct person.

Case 2: You can only recognize the type of marking (Fuku, Dainippon, Generic, Kaga, English marking…). There are around 24 types of Marking listed in the Database.

  • Select: Seals & Marking by Type….
  • Select the Type of Marking you want and browse through the lists.... it can be quite long for kanji marking or generic marking.
  • To get help how to recognize Marking type "Type of Marking"

Remark :
Concerning the Kutani generic marking, 九谷, 九谷製, 九谷造, 大日本九谷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 their production.

Case 3: You do not know 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 4: How to look for signature on calligraphy
Some painters are also calligraphist, some are just caligraphist.
Calligraphy is generally written from top to bottom and from right to left. Then the first vertical sentence is in principle the title of the poem. The last one is the name of the calligraphist with is signature together with a red seal.
Calligraphy is almost always signed inside the pot, with the text. The seal or marking on the back of the piece is only the name of the painter, producer, shop, kiln.... They are almost never the name of the calligraphist.
There are two ways to look for calligraphist:
1) Select Search DB, by Calligraphy...., then select by Pen name, or family name or kiln

  • You will find the lists of all the pieces which are in the data base.

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: If after doing your own research you cannot find anything

  • Sorry but do not ask webmaster, you have 2 alternatives: