Japanese Porcelain Figurine

Antique and Exceptional Japanese Ebisu Porcelain and Clay | Satsuma Moriage Immortal Figurine



Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 7-3/4”h x 4-3/4”x 3-3/4”d

This figure represents a RARE Porcelain Satsuma figure of the God of fishermen and good fortune, the smiling and bearded Ebisu which is made of clay, with a porcelain surface decoration with color and gold accents called moriage, which is a term used to describe the use of raised jewel tone with raised enamel on the surface used to give richness and depth to the colors. His arm, hands, and face are white porcelain and expressively detailed. This exceptional figure is beautifully glazed in a burgundy-colored base that shows through to the outer glazing on his robe. He is sitting on a beautifully modeled rock at the seashore, dressed as a Japanese high-rank nobleman, in a three-quarter-length coat/ceremonial Kariginu and Sashinuki, reflecting the status of this immoral. Ebisu is shown wearing a tall pointed hat called a Kazari Eboshi, which is elaborately detailed. It is thought that these motifs might therefore represent the granting of wishes.

He has in his right hand a fan made of "jungian”, or pure silver that has an engraved motif that matches his robe, instead of the typical fishing pole, reflecting his status. In his left hand and under his arm, is a large-scale, big-eyed sea bream, which is the Japanese symbol of good fortune.  Ebisu is the only deity among the seven to originate in Japan. Today he symbolizes safe sailing and plentiful fishing, along with business prosperity for merchants in all trades.

Vintage Condition: Excellent as originally made. “As is” and retains the original craft/workmanship with no chipping/cracking, with slight surface fading on a small portion of the Kazari Eboshi, (headpiece). We rarely see pieces of this size, quality, and complexity available on the market.

NOTE: The satsuma figure will always be of a person or Satsuma Immortal from Japan, often holding an item such as flowers or a fan and posing rather than performing a task such as working.  The characters and figures also feature heavy decoration to their clothing and any part of the landscape that may feature in the design.  The artwork on the piece follows the usual Satsuma style with heavy use of gold, intricate, detailed images, and patterns.  A Satsuma figure was never made from porcelain, but the Satsuma pieces were all made from earthenware pottery. It often seems that many of the figures that were made in the satsuma style are slight caricatures of the people they are depicting.

Moriage is a special type of raised decoration used on some Japanese pottery. Sometimes pieces of clay were shaped by hand and applied to the item; sometimes the clay was squeezed from a tube in the way we apply cake frosting. Moriage pieces were often unmarked and were known for their highly stylized decorations and gilding.