Kit-tachi Oh-sumi-kiri Gaku-men Chou-hou (A Type of 8 Sided Pot)

Kit-tachi Oh-sumi-kiri Gaku-men Chou-hou (8 sided pot)

Chinese Antique Naka-watari pot (19th century) 46 cm wide.

One of my favorite shapes in Bonsai ceramics is this type of 8 side pot.  It is such a great example of the high quality Chinese ceramics that were produced during the 19th century.  In Japanese, this pot shaped is called: Kit-tachi Oh-sumi-kiri Gaku-men Chou-hou.  What does that mean you say???  Well, here is the break down:

Kit-tachi = Straight sidewall

Oh-sumi-kiri = Big corner cut

Gaku-men = Framed face

Chou-hou = Rectangle

Now that is a mouth full!  But understandable because there is so much going on with this pot.  In other words, this is a very strong feeling pot.  What tree would you put in it?

In this post, I’m going to be sharing some detailed photos of these types of pots made during the 19th and 20th century, both Chinese and Japanese.  Hopefully this post will provide you a bit more information about the wonderful world of Bonsai ceramics and increase your knowledge of what your Bonsai is sitting in all this time.  😉  Well, I’m excited, I hope you are too!

Here’s a shot of the top.  Those are some small holes!  This type of Chinese Antique is Red clay with a smooth finish.  The black coloration on the lip of the pot is patina that has developed through out its 100+ years of existence and is an indicator that the pot was used often.  Very nice!

Here is the underside of the pot.  Note the detailing and clean lines.  Hard to believe that this pot was completely hand man.  It took an excellent artist and craftsman to create a pot like this.  Again, great example of patina.

Here’s a closeup of one of the drain holes.  This photo also gives you an idea of the texture of the clay.  Very smooth and refined.  These types of pots were fired at a much higher temp so they are much harder and have a higher pitch ringing sound when tapped on.

Hou-setsu San-jin.  A well-known and famous chop in Chinese Antique ceramics.

Kei-kei. Here is a second stamp and Mr. Tanaka says that it may refer to the area the pot was made.  These two characters are often seen with other ceramics pot makers chops during the same era.

Here’s a close up of the side windows.  An old pot ready to go with an old tree.

Here is an example of a tree in this type of pot. This size of this particular pot is 29cm wide.  Strong tree with a strong pot.

Sorry for the poor photo quality but is a good example of a satsuki azalea in this type of pot.  Again, strong tree in a strong pot.

Another poor quality photo but you get the point.  Note how all three trees are heavy and powerful feeling?

A Japanese Version

Since the shape of these pots are on the rarer side, they can be very costly.  Here is an example of a commissioned pot from a Japanese bonsai pot maker.  Though the Japanese version can be pricey, they are much cheaper than the Chinese Antiques versions.  Cheaper, meaning that this pot runs at about 1200.00US. The clay type isn’t as refined as the Chinese Antique, but very well made none the less and rare since it was a commissioned pot.  This one is at 47 cm wide.  Lets take a closer look.

A view of the top.  Same number of holes but much larger.  The clay is brown instead of red and the pot is fired at a lower temp.  There’s pretty good patina started to develop on the lip.

There are the same number of feet but less detailing on the bottom than the Chinese Antique, but does have a textured finish.

The maker is Kei-zan and has since passed away.  He only tends to sign his best work.  Normally it’s just the lone stamp.  This photo also gives you a closer look at the textured bottom and clay color.

Here is a shot of the corner.  This photo gives you an idea of the texture of the pot.  This pot is rougher than the Chinese Antique.  This is a very nice pot and when I asked Mr. Tanaka if he would sell it to me, it was a quick and decisive no!  Aww…  😦

Canton and Some Color

Here is an example of a Canton pot made during the 60’s and 70’s in China.  Canton pots were made in the Southern regions of China.  The pots and glazes tended to be thick and glossy and the Japanese tend to refer them as Canton because that was the only area in China that these types were produced.  This particular Canton pot is a Shinto (Chinese ceramics made during the 60’s and 70’s) Canton pot.  This Canton shape is a little tricky to find but are out there and not too expensive.  I really like the thick glazes and drip lines!

A view of the top.

Here’s a shot of the bottom.

The only chop on this pot is this number 32.  Not sure what it means. Thoughts?  Perhaps worker number 32 made it?  When Mr. Tanaka purchased this pot, he ended up giving me this pot as a birthday gift because he knew I was looking for this pot and that I was turning 32.  Pretty cool huh?  I guess it all worked out.  This photo also give you and idea of the texture and color of the clay used.

Here’s a close up of some of the thick glaze.

The only problem with those thick drip points is that they can break off as seen here on another foot.  Doh!  I didn’t do it!

In worst case scenarios when the glaze breaks off, it can potentially take a chunk of the clay with it.  I’m glad that it only happened to this one foot.

Here’s a close up of the patina that has developed on this pot.  Brand new, this green glaze would be very shiny.  Not the case with this one.

Here’s a shot of the corner. Not refined like the previous versions but it has its own charm and character. I can see a strong gnarly looking Korean hornbeam in this pot.

One more…

Lucky me!  Recently, Mr. Tanaka and I visited a Bonsai nursery and I found another one of these Shinto Canton pots but in a blue glaze.  This pot looks like it’s never been used and there is very little patina on it.  Note how shiny the pot is!  It’s okay though because I love the shape!

A shot from the top.

A shot from the bottom.

This pot has a fairly large and fancy looking chop.  The maker is Yu-ryu Tou-in.

Here is a shot of the corner of the pot.  I’m going to have fun using and developing the patina on this pot. 😉  Note how the feet have no glaze on them.  Closer examination shows that someone grind the glaze off the feet.  I have no idea who did it.  It may have been the manufacture for all I know.  Perhaps it was so that the glaze couldn’t break off and take a foot with it.

Here is an example of a flowering tree in a Chinese Antique pot that is glazed.  Sorry but no example of the canton pot used.  😦

Well there you have it, more information about ceramics in Bonsai.  I’ve got tons of photos of other types of pottery and you can bet more post about them will be coming in the future.

As pottery posts starts to build up, I will be sure to write a post with tips on matching trees to pots. It’s not as difficult as many would think but practice and experience is needed for sure.  My advice during the mean time is to get your hands on some show books and study the tree and pot combinations.  Think about why the combination works or perhaps doesn’t work.  For the most part, a basic guideline can be put together for matching trees to pot, but as good as the guidelines may be, they are full of holes created by exceptions.

Going Home!

For those that don’t know, I am currently in the US.  I came home a week ago for some much-needed time off.  Today I just got into Milwaukee where I will be headlining the 42nd Annual Milwaukee Bonsai Society Show.  I got to meet some of the members today and they are so warm and friendly.  I know I’m going to have a good time here!  There is more information about the show below if you’re around the Milwaukee area and would like to visit.  I’ve love to see you there!

For more information about the show, please click here

After I head back to California I will be home for about a week and I’ll be off to Japan again to continue the apprenticeship.  At that time, I will roll out more post about my time in Milwaukee, Bonsai and the Life.  😉

Thanks for reading and take care!

P.S. If you are actively reading this blog, I would appreciate it if you subscribe to it (right column of the blog).  This is one of the best ways for me to know how many people are reading.  Thanks!

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14 thoughts on “Kit-tachi Oh-sumi-kiri Gaku-men Chou-hou (A Type of 8 Sided Pot)

  1. Peter Tea says:

    Thank you everybody for reading and commenting on the post!

  2. Gerry Fuller says:

    Thanks Peter….I always learn new things from your posts…the pots are beautiful..

  3. Barry Dixon says:

    An absolute stunning group of pots Peter thanks for showing them

  4. Peter, thanks for a fantastic overview of pots with perfect tree combinations.

  5. debbie says:

    Once again an amazing post!
    I did pottery at one stage and know the answer to the broken foot. When they glaze the pot, they dip it into a liquid glaze (water and powder mixture) and then allow it to dry. The pot then goes into the kiln and is fired. If your glaze has been applied very thickly it often runs down onto the shelf of the kiln and when it cools, hardens and sticks to the shelf. When they remove the pot the only way to get the pot off the shelf is to “break it”, hence the broken foot.
    The other pot with no glaze on the feet is also a technique. When glazing the pot, they dip the areas that they do not want glazed into melted candle wax, in this case the feet. The candle wax sticks to the pot and when the pot is dipped into the liquid glaze, the glaze cannot stick to the pot. When the pot is fired the wax burns away leaving a glazed free area.

    • Peter Tea says:

      Hi Debbie,

      Thanks for the info on glazes! Though I love collecting and enjoying ceramics, I am completely ignorant to all the techniques involved in creating them. But I’m learning more and more about it every day!

      Thanks and take care!

  6. tmmason10 says:

    I love the pot posts! Keep them coming, you seem to be a good resource for us all. Looking forward to the matching trees with pots post as well.

  7. ed curlee says:

    Your refering to the type of pot name meaning 8 sided but in your initial pcture the pot appears to ave 6 sides. Vey interesting post, hope you had a great time back in the god ole USA.

  8. Mike Blanton says:

    Your web page is great and very education . I just wondering if sale any of your pots not the antique japanese pots but a some good old Chinese pots .
    Thank you for your time and your hard work
    Mike Blanton

  9. Mac says:

    Peter, I look forward to your thoughts on matching tree to pot. Hurry before Spring gets here.

  10. Steve Moore says:

    Elegant-looking pot at the start of the post!
    In response to “what sort of tree would you put in such a pot,” my immediate thought was “a tree with its own strong character,” whatever form the character takes.

  11. JUDY HUGHES says:

    enjoyed this post. Look forward to meeting you in Milwaukee, taking one of your workshops and seeing some of your pots.

  12. japanesepots says:

    Nice post Peter. Very informative and those are some pretty pots!

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