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Various Pots: Select Suitable for Species and Shape

April 3, 2013

 The "bon" of bonsai means a pot and the "sai" means a tree. The harmony between trees and pots are the same as calligraphic paintings and mountings. In the big exhibitions, the pots are introduced with the tree species. We interviewed Mitsuo Matsuda, Matsuda Seishoen bonsai garden in Takamatsu's Kinashi town, about the kinds of pots.

Shitate Pot and Kesho Pot

 With the growth of bonsai, the pot is changed. An unglazed pot called "Shitate bachi" is often used when the tree is young. The reddish pot is available for purchase at hardware store. It allows air and water to pass through easily and can retain water. So the roots grow well and the tree grows fast.

 When the tree grows, it is transplanted to a pot for appreciation called "Kesho bachi." There are many choices according to the tree's species and shape. If the pot is suitable for the tree, the bonsai enrich the value.

Yuyakumono and Deimono

Round of Guangdong (left), rectangle of Namako (upper right) and white Kochi (lower right)
Round of Guangdong (left), rectangle of Namako (upper right) and white Kochi (lower right)

 There are two types of pots: Yuyakumono with glaze and Deimono without glaze. Yuyakumono features the bright color. There are many types such as Kochi, Guangdong, and Nanjing named after its production area and Namako and Kin-yu named after the appearance.

Round of Kowatari (antique) Udei
Round of Kowatari (antique) Udei

 Deimono has relaxed and dignified atmosphere. It is said the pot is suitable for Shohaku (trees of Pinaceae and Cupressaceae). According to the paste and the finish, it is called Shudei, Shidei, Udei, Koudei, Hakudei and so on.

 In Japan, pots were made before the Edo Era. But Chinese pots which are older than Japanese ones are prized and in heavy usage. It is called Kowatari, Nakawatari, Shinto, and Shinshinto in chronological order. Kowatari pots are made until the end of Qing dynasty. The pots are high-quality goods used as the burial accessories for noble people in China. Nakawatari which is common in Japan have arrived from the middle of the Meiji Era to the Taisho Era. Shinto have arrived from the end of Taisho Era to Showa Era, and Shinshinto have done after the World War Ⅱ.

Kyogoku Shiho for shohin bonsai (three of the left) and Shuzan
Kyogoku Shiho for shohin bonsai (three of the left) and Shuzan

 The common Japanese pots are Tokoname, Shigaraki, Bizen, and Seto. Especially the pots made by some famous artists such as Tofukuji, Yusen and Shuzan are very popular.
(By Shigeo Hano)

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