September 3, 2014

Large Japanese Porcelain Kutani Moriage Hotei Statue 九谷布袋

It seems I am once again blessed with good fortune.

       I never know what I'll find when I'm out hunting for Asian art and antiques. Call me obsessed, but I have this compulsion to do so as often as possible whenever I'm financially able to, even if it means scouring the shelves of a thrift store hoping to bring home something unique for super dirt cheap.

  So today was the first day of school and with my daughter gone for the day, I decided to hit up a couple of shops I frequently visit, and, well, I wasn't counting on making any large dollar amount purchases and I hope I'm not going to regret doing so later when I'm sending out checks for my monthly household bills, etc since it appears I have exhausted my available spending funds for the next two weeks.

One of the shops I stopped at is an antiques store which I visit very often, at least once a month.  Today, as I entered the store, the owner, a 90+ year old woman, was just about to step outside.  We began talking, as we customarily do, and she started talking about this large stained glass window that was next to her leaning against the wall by the front door, and that she wants to move it to the other side of the store on the window sill.    I offered to move it for her, and as a result, it appears maybe I got a bargain price on this large Japanese Kutani Hotei statue.

Large Japanese Porcelain Kutani Moriage Hotei Statue 九谷布袋
Hotei ( 布袋 ) is one of the Japanese Shichifukujin 七福神 , The Seven Gods of Fortune, or in Western terms, Seven Lucky GodsHotei is the fat and happy god of contentment, happiness, abundance and good health, also known as Budai or Pu-Tai in Chinese mythology and/or folklore, etc.  In Western culture, he is referred to as the Laughing Buddha even though he is not Buddha, albeit some Buddhist sects consider him to be an incarnation of Maitreya or Miroku Nyorai.

The base of the statue has an incised Kutani mark, 九谷, and is intricately decorated in a Satsuma moriage style.  He is approximately 14" tall and weighs at least 8 to 10 pounds I think.

After I finished moving the large stained glass window, there on the shelf in front of me was a large Satsuma temple vase, which I eagerly and excitedly oohed and aahed over until I saw the "Made in Japan" mark on the bottom.  Sure I liked the vase, but I felt perhaps it was not that old, so I decided perhaps I should not fork over $50 for it, and that's when I turned around and saw what looked like a Satsuma Hotei, yet when I picked it up for a closer look, realized that it was not Satsuma at all, but Satsuma style, because the clay was not an earthenware, nor was there the tell tale Satsuma crackled glaze.  At the time I couldn't even see the marking, because I didn't have my magnifying glass and my eyes are poor these days.   The owner of the shop also has bad eyes, so when she asked me if I could read or see the mark, my answer was "I think I see Made in.. it probably says Made in Japan", and it wasn't until I got home that I saw that it's actually a Kutani mark, 九谷.

 
I put the Hotei statue down and browsed around her shop, picking up a 6 1/2" Satsuma vase with a Samurai decorated in moriage, and a small Chinese saucer with the Shou symbol for longevity, .   After I placed them onto the counter, I went back to examine Hotei, hoping it was within my budget and I asked the owner, "how much is he?"   Her answer was "since you helped me, you tell me what it's worth to you".   I was hesitant, because I didn't want to sound cheap, although I'm certain she knows all too well that I'm always looking for bargains as I've haggled with her 90% of the time I have ever made a purchase from her, but also, at the same time, I knew I only had $40 in my pocket, so, without thinking of the other two items I also wanted, I said "I only have $40 in my pocket" to which she said "sold..  I'll give it to you for that price" which pleased me very much even though I knew I would be broke until I get paid again.

When I got to the counter to pay, that's when I realized I didn't have enough to pay for the other two items, however, she trusted that I would come back and pay, so allowed me to take them home on the promise that I would return, which of course I will, because I have known this woman for over a year now and have been in her store at least several dozen times, as well as see her around town in other shops, etc.. even at a local auctioneer's hall, so, and besides, she also knows my name and where I live, so yes, of course she trusts me.

I immediately began Googling around trying to determine how old this Kutani Hotei is, as well as its potential value, and I'm coming up with various possibilities for its age, from late Meiji to early Taisho, even early Showa, so my research is incomplete and its age remains uncertain at this time.

  As for value, well, that's a real crap shoot, because all I have to go by are eBay listings, and, well, sorry to say, but the majority of sellers on eBay don't know their freaking ass from their elbow, never mind the age and values of Japanese porcelain and antiques, etc.  They pretty much pull numbers out of thin air, like one particular delusional fool from Seattle who thinks her Kutani Hotei is worth $950 + shipping.   I say good luck with that as I laugh at how absurd her asking price is.  I have seen others ranging from $50 up to $300+, all with differences, none of them the size of this one, except the $950 one and another I found for $875, so who knows... Maybe it is worth that much, yet I seriously doubt that.   The majority of the Japanese Kutani Hotei figures and statues I saw selling online were all in the 6" to 8" range with the exception of 2, and none quite the same, although a little similar.  I am happy however that mine seems to be in far superior condition and detail than the ones I saw online.

Another major difference I noticed, is that most of those that are marked have the Kutani mark 九谷 painted in red while the marking on mine is incised into the clay.

Large Japanese Porcelain Kutani Moriage Hotei Statue 九谷布袋 Large Japanese Porcelain Kutani Moriage Hotei Statue 九谷布袋
Large Japanese Porcelain Kutani Moriage Hotei Statue 九谷布袋 Large Japanese Porcelain Kutani Moriage Hotei Statue 九谷布袋
Large Japanese Porcelain Kutani Moriage Hotei Statue 九谷布袋 Large Japanese Porcelain Kutani Moriage Hotei Statue 九谷布袋
Large Japanese Porcelain Kutani Moriage Hotei Statue 九谷布袋 Large Japanese Porcelain Kutani Moriage Hotei Statue 九谷布袋
































































If you're looking to buy a Kutani Hotei for sale, there's some on eBay:

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for the wonderful information! My wife and I are attending to her dad who is in hospice, and trying to figure out the value of items collected while he and his Japanese wife lived in Japan for 40 years. We have a large (20") Kutani Hotei statue, and thought it might be Kutani, but were not sure until looking at the info about yours. Very similar in appearance and the mark is the same.

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  2. I have a Hotei statue that is 10" tall and looks almost identical to yours however the paint scheme is different on his robe and fan. I had considered taking it to Antiques Roadshow for appraisal thinking it might be worth a lot but it sounds like these can be purchased for a reasonable price. The mark on the bottom looks like a square with 4 boxes inside the square. Do you have any idea what it's worth? John Neptune

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  3. Ohayogozaimasu Kelley-san !!
    Haven't used any Japanese for so long I'm hoping it was correct? With all my respect. I was surfing along and your site caught my eye with Japanese marks so I thought I'd take a look! Very nice and informative! I also noticed your article of Hotei,also a fine piece, vibrant colors,and the detail especially the facial features. My Hotei is 11 1/2" tall has the "red Kutani mark" and like yours the facial detail is fantastic!! Would really like you to see it and would appreciate your valued opinion. The provenance of my Hotei is my parents were in Japan in 1956-1958 where "The Little Big Man",as I called him was purchased. I just inherited him in 2014 after my mom's passing (she's happy :). Lastly I also have a Karajishi Lion with paws on ball (male) with an incised mark I'm having difficulty finding. Have searched Gotheborg, Kutani Mark Web Site all great just didn't have my mark. Two symbols stacked within . an oval shape. Kutani motif and colors probably Early Showa 1926-1935 maybe a little earlier not sure. Looking for some help figuring this one out.Care to take a crack at it? Shoot you probably already know what the heck am I thinkin'.LOL. In any case I'm at waverydr61@yahoo.com Kevin K. Japan 72'-77'. Thanks, Bye for now!!

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  4. Have you found a value of your lucky God

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