Is this Oriental, Chinese writing/script?

It’s on the bottom of a vase. I really don’t know how old it is. It’s my Fathers. He may have bought it in Europe right after WWII. It may be much older.

We will get it appraised of course, but just curious if this may be more than a keepsake.

The style of the vase looks Japanese to me. The writing looks more like hiragana than Kanji (Chinese characters). You need to rotate it 90 deg counter clockwise.

It’s definitely Chinese-style script, which has been used either currently or historically in many countries. What specific language it might be I have no idea.

The native reader / writer isn’t here tonight. It does look a bit odd. I first thought perhaps it’s a stylized 大六 (large six) but it would take someone who is more familiar with the arts.

The second character is definitely a number 6 (六). Not sure about the first one though. Perhaps 左? “Sixth from the left”? I don’t know.

But, if they are maker’s marks on the bottom of a piece of pottery, they could be anything. Even if they resemble actual characters, they could just be symbols that the artisan used to identify the piece.

Ha, a flask vase, classic tourist trade/export ware taking advantage of the fad for Japanoiserie just after Perry forcibly dragged Japan into the modern age.

Both Chinese and Japanese porcelain makers turned these out for the export market and the shape was a nod to canteens [flasks] carried by travelers. The pattern could go either way, though typically cherry blossoms are a Japanese motif the Chinese did knock-offs for the American and European market. Unfortunately I am not at my mum’s house so i don’t have access to her reference books. [Mum was an antiques dealer for around 40 years. Unfortunately she is failing with alzheimers and I can’t just send the link to my brother and have him ask her about it :frowning: ] Going by the picture of hte bottom, I am hazarding a guess at Japanes, frequently Chinese is marked with a chop either in ink or actually imprinted rather than brushwritten.

It is not going to be particularly valuable as things go. I would tend to date it not much earlier than mid1800s and most likely closer to 1900 than not. Not that it is a bad thing, it would still look nice in spring with an arrangement of cherry blossoms and pussywillow in it. Since it isn’t that valuable, using it would be just fine.

Thank you all for the input. I will continue to research it and will respond as I find out more. It’s a beautiful piece IMHO, and will be part of the family for a long time.

Should be the character for “right” (as in right handed) and “six”


Hellifino what that means though. My wife, who is a native Chinese speaker and a Japanese university graduate said “right six” or non-sensical. The characters don’t look particularly well drawn to my eye.

Frankly, not even sure if this is supposed to be Chinese or Japanese, or Japanese copying Chinese.

I realize this is about as helpful as mud but there ya go.

The first character may also be a cursive form of 起, see the fifth character from the left on the second line here.

This happens to be an old form of hiragana, Japanese phonetic characters, that reads as ki. A lot of traditional Japanese businesses have names that end with the character 六 (roku). It’s possible that this is kiroku, with the first character written phonetically. This wouldn’t be particularly unusual.