Posted 4 months ago
This Fukagawa ashtray is 5.75" diameter x 2.5" high with the Fukagawa Mt. Fuji with a Stream mark. It looks brand new with no wear at all. Dating Fukagawa is a bit complicated and I haven't been able to pin down exactly when this mark was used, yet. Sometime the 20th century, but I am not certain which part. I also have a nice Koransha sake set with the orchid mark that I think dates to the 1920s or 1930s which I will post by and by. I have had this ashtray for awhile, but just cannot get good images of it. The colors are very deep, almost 3-D, but the porcelain is fired at very high temperatures, almost like glass, and it is very shiny. I will keep trying, but using the seller's images, for now. The majority of the Fukugawa ashtrays I have seen are white with gold decoration and sets of several ashtrays are common. Colorful ashtrays like this one are much less common. One thing about Fukagawa porcelain like this ashtray is that you immediately think you know which kiln made it without seeing the mark. Unfortunately, Koransha has the same characteristics, which is how I found my sake set. I surfing an auction site, saw some images and immediately thought "Aha! Fukagawa" and then saw the mark was not theirs so then proceeded to learn about the history of these two companies. The seller had no idea who made it, luckily for me! Neither piece was very expensive, so I did not risk much by buying them and the quality is amazing, anyway.
"There is a lot of confusion on the various marks used by the Fukagawa Seiji and Koransha companies over the years. When you check out the various auction sites you will find many fairly modern pieces being sold as Antiques. Some Koransha items are seen advertised as Fukagawa and visa versa. One must know their stuff if they decide to purchase items on these sites. Seiji Kaisha was also an off shoot of the original Koransha company.
I am building a collection of marks with their general time periods. It is a work in progress.
I am thankful for the book "Meiji Arita..." for help with additional marks of the Meiji period.
Both Fukagawa Seiji and Koransha were established by the Fukagawa Family (with others) and they have held the leadership in both companies throughout. Seiji Kaisha is interwoven in the mix as well, having been established by Koransha people (which lasted about twenty years).
The Fukagawa family made ceramics for generations but in 1879 they established Koransha. After the death of the father in 1889, the second son began Fukagawa Seiji in 1894. Obviously the companies are intertwined as they are both headed by Fukagawa descendants.
"Koransha and Fukagawa Seiji
Fukagawa is a family, a brand name, a place and nowadays a porcelain factory in the Arita region. Its history goes back to the seventeenth century. Fukagawa is thus a part but not all of Arita.
Its history starts with Ezaiemon Fukagawa who in 1856 became head of his family's porcelain business and in 1875 founded Koransha (The Company of the Scented Orchid) in Arita, Japan, to produce tableware for export.
In 1894 the modern Fukagawa company was founded by Chuji Fukagawa, with the Fukagawa trade mark of Mount Fuji and a stream, as its trade mark.
In the Paris International Exposition in 1900 Chuji Fukagawa won the medaille d'or with a large Flower Vase. Among many famous artists Kinsaku Ide, shape designer, and the sculptor Toshi Ninomiya could be noted as having taken part in producing the Paris Expo 1900 prize-winning vase.
Similarities in style with Hirado can be seen in some of the early (late Meiji period) Fukagawa pieces, but the Iro-nabeshima style (decoration in enamels such as the Ko-Imari style) is more common.
Not all Fukagawa pieces were marked with the Red Orchid mark, or Mount Fuji with a Stream. Some were simply written in red, but also in blue and could be marked with the character for sei or tsukuru, both meaning made. The calligraphy was widely varied. Some were very artistic with flair while some were hurried and simple.
The Fukagawa company has served as purveyor for the Japanese Imperial Household since 1910 and only produces what we mean by white true high temperature porcelain. "