How to tell Japanese vs Chinese Pots

Shogun610

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I didn’t take pictures of the chops but there was someone selling a decent amount of bonsai pots and other tools/ supplies.
I set aside all the bonsai pots I spotted that had chops on the bottom.
how likely is it that those are Japanese pots .
They offered 4 pots (in inches)
8.5*5.5*1 Forest oval
6.5*4*2, rectangle
8*5*2 rectangle
2*2*1 small square
one training pot with holes, a wire cutter, concave cutter , knob cutter, 1/2 kilo of 4 gauge wire and some screens for 150.00

just trying to figure out if a pot has chops means better quality and worth me buying vs if it was just a production /Chinese pot I wouldn’t want it.
 

penumbra

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Both cultures and several others use chop marks. They can be quite different but they all had a common root so you need to know your stuff to tell what's what. Actually it is probably easier to tell by style, glaze and clay body.
 
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Shogun610

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Both cultures and several others use chop marks. They can be quite different but they all had a common route so you need to know your stuff to tell what's what. Actually it is probably easier to tell by style, glaze and clay body.
They seemed contemporary honestly…. Dark clay body though, 2 had glazes but they were like a cream color the other two were unglazed. The tools didn’t have a mark on them nor any indication made in China so I’m contemplating.
 

vp999

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Any pics of the pots ? Normally when you tap it if it sounds like a bell its Japanese Tokoname and if it has a deeper sound its Chinese. That's what I was told....lol.
 

Shogun610

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I didn’t take pictures, I didn’t want to be too invasive , it was a late husband that had passed and he had left behind bonsai and bonsai pots , tools, etc. I was appreciative to get the opportunity to look but I wouldn’t want to go back unless I was sure I was going to buy the items I saw
 

sorce

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Just buy them if this seems affordable, it does to me.

Clear use for years is the easiest way to determine value IMO, that and will they work for your trees.

You're just as likely to omit a Chinese antique as you are finding something Japanese worth any money, so this type of segregation is not worth thought.

That's what I was told....lol.

Slap the person who told you that! Lol...nah... educate them!

Thickness, shape, materials, firing....all play a part in sound, all which crossover between Japan and China.
Not to mention bells themselves, brass, iron, porcelain, size, shape, etc...we would have to know what bell he was speaking of, but it still wouldn't be an indicator, it would just serve to narrow down what we would still find inconclusive.

I could find $150 worth of value in the tools alone and call the pots a freebie.

Sorce
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Over a thousand years ago, actually nearly two thousand years ago, Chinese Buddhist missionaries taught the Japanese their classical script. Because written Chinese is a symbolic system, rather than phonetic, reading and writing Chinese classical script does not require knowing how to speak Chinese. Modern Japanese classical script shares about 90% the same characters as modern Traditional Chinese script. This makes distinguishing Chinese from Japanese chop marks somewhat difficult. You need to be familiar with surnames and other aspects of language to reliably separate the two written scripts.

In Japan, antique Chinese pots are highly sought after.

So when shopping for pots, country of origin is not very important. Cheap Chinese and cheap Japanese pots are equally mediocre. Good Chinese and good Japanese pots are works of art. Both countries make a wide selection of good utilitarian grade medium price pots.

So just learn how to spot a well made pot, and don't worry about origin.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Typically with estate sales, the pots are not valuable, or you may find one among many that might be. If someone collects or buys valuable pots, it’s likely their family is aware of it. It is a small percentage of people doing bonsai who also get into the higher-end pots. That said, if you get some photos, I don’t mind helping identify them if I can. My guess is that these pots aren’t likely worth $150 total, but I’d love to be wrong.
 

rockm

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Photos are necessary. Color, "sound" and the like don't make much difference. High end Chinese pots (which are pretty close to good Japanese pots) are common these days. FWIW, these sound like Yixing Chinese pots--those have "chop marks" on them and are mostly made of "purple" clay that fires a dark brown.
 

rockm

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Typically with estate sales, the pots are not valuable, or you may find one among many that might be. If someone collects or buys valuable pots, it’s likely their family is aware of it. It is a small percentage of people doing bonsai who also get into the higher-end pots. That said, if you get some photos, I don’t mind helping identify them if I can. My guess is that these pots aren’t likely worth $150 total, but I’d love to be wrong.
I'd agree this collection of pretty small pots probably isn't worth $150. More like half that if the seller is being realistic. That said, if they are in the "collectible" category of Japanese potters, then all bets are off.

I would disagree with Brian on "the family is aware" thing. That CAN be true 😁 . It might not be if the person doing the collecting hasn't informed their spouse/relatives of an expensive (or VASTLY expensive) habit. I don't collect high-end Japanese pots, but I do have more than a few pretty decent BIG pots from notable western potters. My wife has a vague idea that those pots have some value, but she's not interested in the details. She said she would call our bonsai nursery owning friends if I unexpectedly check out--knock wood-- and leave the valuations to them.

Bottom line, if you don't want to take pics and then come back, just buy the pots. They're not grossly overpriced and you might be doing your friend a favor by removing them from the house.
 

Shogun610

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I'd agree this collection of pretty small pots probably isn't worth $150. More like half that if the seller is being realistic. That said, if they are in the "collectible" category of Japanese potters, then all bets are off.

I would disagree with Brian on "the family is aware" thing. That CAN be true 😁 . It might not be if the person doing the collecting hasn't informed their spouse/relatives of an expensive (or VASTLY expensive) habit. I don't collect high-end Japanese pots, but I do have more than a few pretty decent BIG pots from notable western potters. My wife has a vague idea that those pots have some value, but she's not interested in the details. She said she would call our bonsai nursery owning friends if I unexpectedly check out--knock wood-- and leave the valuations to them.

Bottom line, if you don't want to take pics and then come back, just buy the pots. They're not grossly overpriced and you might be doing your friend a favor by removing them from the house.
Ok thanks all for the input(just replying to Rockm reply cause it was the newest) , also tried to look for any markings on he tools but yeah they seemed to be sharp and in good condition.
still deciding to buy though cause I’d rather spend that money on a pot knowing I’ll use vs just grabbing them just because. I’m a bit indecisive as a fault.
 

penumbra

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I would disagree with Brian on "the family is aware" thing. That CAN be true 😁 . It might not be if the person doing the collecting hasn't informed their spouse/relatives of an expensive (or VASTLY expensive) habit.
This is very true. How many of you have spouses or children that have any clue what you items are worth. After 30 years of buying and selling eclectic and ethnic antique from all over, particularly Asian, I have seen the reality of this. Many of my items I have told my wife are valuable but she doesn't really care. She places no stock in things, only money in retirement accounts. When I am gone I would imagine most of my things will be given away. She does appreciate my Song Dynasty Jade Buddha and my Han Dynasty jade dragons, but my archaic carvings and pottery mean nothing to her.
This is one of the reasons I am parting with so much now.
 

Shogun610

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This is very true. How many of you have spouses or children that have any clue what you items are worth. After 30 years of buying and selling eclectic and ethnic antique from all over, particularly Asian, I have seen the reality of this. Many of my items I have told my wife are valuable but she doesn't really care. She places no stock in things, only money in retirement accounts. When I am gone I would imagine most of my things will be given away. She does appreciate my Song Dynasty Jade Buddha and my Han Dynasty jade dragons, but my archaic carvings and pottery mean nothing to her.
This is one of the reasons I am parting with so much now.
If you have any pots ,I would know they are quality let me know via PM.
But this kinda scares me haha I will be sure to write the value and items in my will to my future kids god willing I find someone. I intend for them to learn and atleast appreciate it , if not either write it in inheritance or donate to a collection if they are good enough by that time … would love to besides leaving my genes as a legacy id like to leave more behind if I am lucky to.
 

rockm

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If you have any pots ,I would know they are quality let me know via PM.
But this kinda scares me haha I will be sure to write the value and items in my will to my future kids god willing I find someone. I intend for them to learn and atleast appreciate it , if not either write it in inheritance or donate to a collection if they are good enough by that time … would love to besides leaving my genes as a legacy id like to leave more behind if I am lucky to.
FWIW, I've settled two estates for my parents and in-laws in the last 6 years. I learned that what you WANT for something "valuable" to you is valued by you at about ten times its actual worth in the cold reality of a consumer market. Stuff that I thought had tremendous value in my parents' home (stuff I grew up with), wound up being given to charity because no one would buy it at estate sales (particularly true of "brown" furniture--even extremely well-made, hand crafted furniture--people under 40 don't want it).

As for eclectic collections of bonsai stuff, including pots, sell it BEFORE you pass on. Those estate sales taught me what a tremendous amount of work sorting though several lives' worth of stuff can be. Being tasked with getting appraisals on effing bonsai pots, then having to sell them (with accompanying photos, legwork and shipping, etc.) is a burden on your kids/relatives.

Over the years, I've seen posts on "what's the value of" my dad/relatives' bonsai collection. Some of Those posts come from folks who think they're sitting on a gold mine who get mad when you tell them the trees' actual worth.

Don't count on your kids/neighbors etc to "get interested" in bonsai so you can hand your trees/bonsai stuff to them. Mostly won't happen. They're not going to be interested. If they are, consider yourself VERY VERY lucky.
 

penumbra

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FWIW, I've settled two estates for my parents and in-laws in the last 6 years. I learned that what you WANT for something "valuable" to you is valued by you at about ten times its actual worth in the cold reality of a consumer market. Stuff that I thought had tremendous value in my parents' home (stuff I grew up with), wound up being given to charity because no one would buy it at estate sales (particularly true of "brown" furniture--even extremely well-made, hand crafted furniture--people under 40 don't want it).

As for eclectic collections of bonsai stuff, including pots, sell it BEFORE you pass on. Those estate sales taught me what a tremendous amount of work sorting though several lives' worth of stuff can be. Being tasked with getting appraisals on effing bonsai pots, then having to sell them (with accompanying photos, legwork and shipping, etc.) is a burden on your kids/relatives.

Over the years, I've seen posts on "what's the value of" my dad/relatives' bonsai collection. Some of Those posts come from folks who think they're sitting on a gold mine who get mad when you tell them the trees' actual worth.

Don't count on your kids/neighbors etc to "get interested" in bonsai so you can hand your trees/bonsai stuff to them. Mostly won't happen. They're not going to be interested. If they are, consider yourself VERY VERY lucky.
My approach has been quite the opposite, particularly at my age. I have known too many antique dealers who kept holding onto something priced too high because of what they paid for it. It made no sense to me because I figured if you had a house and a car, and you were not hungry, your things were long ago paid for. I don't do antique shows anymore, or at least I haven't in a few years so that is a market I am not going after. Almost everything I have sold in the past 3 years has sold for less than I actually paid for it. None of my antiques relate to bonsai, but I did sell a 2,000 year old Han Dynasty planter several years ago.
As to my parents things, in some markets they had some things of great value, like several pieces of Thayer Coggin furniture that was designed by the great man himself. I could care less, I want none of it and when it goes it will be first come first serve. It is quite likely I was just have someone haul everything away.
My bonsai and pots will all be given away when I go and I already have two people on the list. They are both well known but I will mention no names.
 

Shogun610

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My approach has been quite the opposite, particularly at my age. I have known too many antique dealers who kept holding onto something priced too high because of what they paid for it. It made no sense to me because I figured if you had a house and a car, and you were not hungry, your things were long ago paid for. I don't do antique shows anymore, or at least I haven't in a few years so that is a market I am not going after. Almost everything I have sold in the past 3 years has sold for less than I actually paid for it. None of my antiques relate to bonsai, but I did sell a 2,000 year old Han Dynasty planter several years ago.
As to my parents things, in some markets they had some things of great value, like several pieces of Thayer Coggin furniture that was designed by the great man himself. I could care less, I want none of it and when it goes it will be first come first serve. It is quite likely I was just have someone haul everything away.
My bonsai and pots will all be given away when I go and I already have two people on the list. They are both well known but I will mention no names.
My parents have items my brother and I are inheriting as well mostly Thomas moser furniture sets , family art , local pottery bowls Gallucci and Blandchard etc and a live edge slab table from someone (I forget) back in the early 80’s from bucks county I think … I image antique esp for higher end/ artisan pots gain value for patina do they not? Sone items gain value over time just gotta be sprayed properly right? My parents had good taste and I got that from then but not so much spotting pot quality aside from my known sources
 
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Katie0317

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Antiques are a 'market' and like every market and regardless of good taste market value goes up and down. Tastes change. Penumbra is absolutely right. Because something was investable and had high market value 10, 20, 30 years ago does not mean the value remains.

Many antique dealers hang onto to things because they paid a lot for them 20 years ago but if the bottom fell out of that particular antique sector they're extremely unlikely to ever regain value. People would be better off to cut it loose and invest that money in something else if they bought those things as investments.

One only need watch 'Antique Roadshow' to see that. If your family has 'collectables' and thinks they're still worth something they're sadly mistaken. You literally can't give Hummel figurines away. The same is true for the entire 'collectable' market and many sectors of the antique market.

The real estate market, stock market and every other market goes up and down but once a sector of antiques drops it rarely makes a comeback.
 

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