About vintage condition

About paint loss

Scandinavian tableware is basically decorated with a technique called "transcription". A transfer paper (like a sticker) is pasted on plain pottery that has been baked in a kiln. Firing the pottery itself is called “main firing”, and the process of applying patterns one by one by a painter with a brush is called “overglazing”. Some of the tableware is hand-painted, in which the painter draws the decorations with a brush instead of transferring them. In hand painting, the vessel is re-fired at a low temperature to fix the pigment.

Photo: Transcription work

In particular, the phenomenon called "paint loss" is likely to occur in decorations using transfer paper. Partial peeling occurs due to various factors such as the original transfer paper being fragile, being bent and pasted, or not being crimped enough. There is also paint loss due to aging, such as bald areas that are frequently rubbed even after many years of home use.

In addition, faience ware such as Gustavsberg uses the ancient technique of firing after painting. In most cases, if there are defects in the pattern, it is not only paint loss but also the body itself.

About cutlery marks

Cutlery is a general term for metal products such as knives, forks, and spoons. In Japan, we often use wooden utensils such as chopsticks, but in Northern Europe, basically all utensils for carrying food to the mouth are made of metal. Therefore, the surface of the pottery will constantly collide with the metal. After many years of use, such damage will surface as "cutlery marks". Normally, you can't see it unless the light shines through it, but the more used the tableware, the more elongated streaks you can see near the center.

Cutlery marks

Photo: Traces of cutlery that can be seen through the light (center of the plate)

About penetration

Ceramics are made by applying a coating liquid made from plant ash called glaze to clay, which is the raw material, and firing it at a high temperature. When the glaze reaches a high temperature, the component called silica contained in the raw material melts out and becomes vitreous. By thinly covering the ceramics with this glass, a transparent hard coating is applied to protect the tableware from stains. Because it is heated at a high temperature of about 1200 degrees, it is extremely difficult to control the temperature during the cooling process, and if it cools down too quickly, the glaze may crack like a spider's web. Even if there is no problem with the pottery clay itself, the condition where only the glaze has cracks is called kannyu.

Photo: Fixed penetration of pigment

Since crazing allows moisture to penetrate into the main body of the pottery clay, if a white vessel has crazing, pouring dark-colored liquids such as coffee will stain it, and the color will never be removed again. Even if there is no problem with the use itself, the aesthetic appearance of the vessel will be spoiled.

On the other hand, in the world of Japanese tea ceremony, for example, there is also a sense of value that “nurtures the vessel” by continuing to do so for many years by creating a sense of taste when matcha is poured into a bowl with a texture. Intrusion is not necessarily a defect of ceramics, but rather leads to an aesthetic sense that makes the vessel look beautiful depending on how you perceive it and how you think about it.


Photo: Penetration of matcha tea bowl

Apart from things that are clearly considered to be dirt, in some cases, kannyu can also be established as a flavor, so it may not be possible to make a value judgment as to whether it is good or bad just because there is kannyu.

About the post marks

There are two methods of kiln firing for ceramics: “single firing” and “layered firing”. Ichimai-yaki is a method in which ceramics are placed one by one on the firing rack of the kiln and fired side by side so that they do not touch each other.

faience one piece kiln
Photo: A single plate, the red clay is visible only on the hill where the glaze is not applied

On the other hand, kasane-yaki is a method of placing a plate on top of a single plate and stacking more plates on top of it for space-saving and mass production. Between each piece of pottery that is stacked vertically, a support called a grill stand or hearth, or tochin in Japan, is inserted. Since the glaze is not applied to the part that touches the baking table during the kiln firing, the finished product will have dents that are the marks of the support of layered firing. Vintage Scandinavian tableware almost always has traces of this prop.

kiln support marks

Photo: Brown porcelain clay peeks out from the part where the support hits

Post marks are not defects or scratches on the product, but are attached from the beginning due to the manufacturing method. In the case of vintage products, the pottery clay inside may be exposed and may look brown, but this is not a stain. Please understand it as one of the features of the product.

Please see the following page for the evaluation of the condition of the product.

<About condition evaluation>