It’s not everyday that you find a Satsuma vase that has traveled back from Asia with a distant relative. Upon completion of his work on the Trans Siberian Railroad a distant relative of our client stopped to purchase this gorgeous vase.
Arguably the most popular of Agatha Christie’s novels, Murder on the Orient Express takes place on the famed Trans Siberian Railroad. Linking Moscow in European Russia with Vladivostok on the Pacific Coast, the Trans Siberian covers 10,000 kilometers (6200 miles) & seven time zones – eight solid days of non-stop train travel.
The Pera Palace Hotel in Istanbul was built in 1892 for the specific purpose of hosting passengers arriving on the Orient Express. Room 411, where Agatha Christie wrote Murder on the Calais Coach aka Murder on the Orient Express is now preserved in her honor.
They say write what you know, and that’s precisely what Agatha Christie did. Most of her novels are “whodunits” centered on the lives of the upper class of British society. Reared in a wealthy family, she was well familiar with the lifestyle of servants & governesses, as well as the extended vacation & wealth of the rich tourist.
Christie traveled extensively through the Middle East with her second husband Max Mallowan, an archeologist. Subsequently, they traveled the world amassing a beautiful collection of artifacts, many still on display at their holiday estate in Devon (now open to the public).
Prior to the Victorian era, there had been little destination tourism as we know it today. By the time Agatha & Max embarked on their many journeys, the railroad allowed the leisure class the opportunity to visit Asia as never before.
Just as today, souvenirs were an important part of any trip to the East. Chinese & Japanese artifacts were notable among the items brought back, in particular, one of the most collectible pieces was Satsuma Pottery.
Satsuma features small, intricate images the surface of the pottery and usually features people, places, animals, Japanese Immortals or pastoral scenes from Japan. Images are hand painted and covered in a thin protective glaze. Remember, Satsuma is a type of pottery, not porcelain.
Even if you’ve never had the opportunity to travel the routes of the Trans Siberian Railroad or written a vastly popular mystery novel set in an exotic Eastern European city, the treasures of the East are still within your reach.
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