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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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