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A vintage Japanese Sumida Gawa vase. The pinched neck vase measures 11 1/2" high x 3 3/4" base x 2" across top. It is decorated with two men conversing about a cowrie shell held by one of the men, who is missing one hand. Vintage condition is very good. Artist's signature on back. Note: small 1/4" size chip on side of lip.
FYI: This colorful ware was made for export to the West and is usually heavy and covered with figures in relief. Most pieces are everyday objects such as tea pots, vases, and mugs. This distinct type of wares got its name from the Sumida River running near the Asakusa pottery district near Tokyo. Sumida pottery has often been called by many names - Poo ware, Sumidagawa, Banko, or Asakusa Banko. The style of applied figures on a surface with flowing glaze was invented about 1890 by the Seto potter Ryosai I, who worked in Tokyo from about 1875 to 1900. They are often embellished with glazed plaques with hand written signatures or general good luck symbols. A great number of the pieces are probably the work of a single family - Inoue Ryosai I (1828-), Inoue Ryosai II (born c. 1860), and Inuoue Ryosai III (1888-1971) who moved the manufacturing site to Yokohama in 1924. After the move to Yokohama more colors e.g. orange were added to the wares. The later pieces also have an unglazed background.