DATE: 1870 (made)
PLACE: Japan (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Earthenware decorated with overglaze enamels and gilt

Although finely painted scenes and rich gilding are synonymous with the Satsuma style, from the 1880s to early 1920s a bolder style of Satsuma ornament emerged. This variant is referred to as Kinran or ‘gold brocade’ decoration, as the repetitive patterns and motifs were inspired by those found on Japanese brocade fabrics, woven from coloured silks and gold-paper threads. Mostly used for theatrical costumes, Buddhist robes or kimono sashes, Kinran was closely associated with the exoticism and luxury which so appealed to the Western collector. Japanese fabric patterns were occasionally used to decorate Satsuma wares prior to the 1880s, but were usually relegated to borders or small areas around spouts, handles or openings. This Kinran teapot is decorated with a stylised thistle within a central cartouche, surrounded by gilt foliate motifs.