Tofukuji pot?

rich415

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I've only been into bonsai for a year now but frequent the few bonsai nurseries in the bay area. Last week I picked up some used pots with chop marks. When I got home I asked my wife to read the marks (she's Japanese). She doesn't know anything about bonsai so most made absolutely no sense but one she recognized as a Temple, Tokufuji. She said it was probably an item from the gift shop or something.

Well, I did a little research and Tokufuji is a temple but this pot did not come from there. It has the same mark as Heian Tofukuji the Master pot maker. I know that he is known for his glazes and this is not a glazed pot but I am happy with my find nonetheless. You can see how much I paid for it in one of the pics.

Do you think this is the real thing or a fake? I did read that there were fakes out there.




 
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Hi Rich,
Let me preface my remarks by saying that I am not an expert on Tofukuji pots but have a serious interest in shohin pots from Japan. I have many books on Japanese shohin bonsai pots including the 144 page book exclusively on Heian Tofukuji pots. Yes, there are many fakes out there also, as you have said. Some authentic pots made by Tofukuji Sr. go well in the thousands of dollars while Tofukuji Jr. pots can be had for less than $1000.
Given all that, this does not have the look of one of his pots in my opinion. He has made unglazed pots but they are more primitive in style - this seems rather traditional in style, not like most of his pots. Now, it doesn't mean it is definitively a fake but only that, IMHO, it does not have the characteristic style of Heian Tofukuji as shown in the many Japanese pottery books and those pots I have seen in exhibits in Japan. Also, his son made some great pots and I have seen a small rectangular unglazed one but it was somewhat primitive in design as well. Here is that one.
If it is one, you are INCREDIBLY lucky but I would try to find someone who can authenticate it. If it is not authentic you are only out $3.50 and it is a useful pot.
John Romano
 

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rich415

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I didn't know anything about pots until I stumbled on these used pots at the nursery. I picked up a few because I liked them and they were cheap. So if it is a fake, I still like the pot. I have found the names of a few other makers of pots I picked up as well.

Matsushita, Masuo



Sankyou



Mizukami, Shinji



Toufukuji (is he different than the other tokufuji? Different chop mark)

 

rich415

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Thanks for the reply John.

The nursery got the pot from some old timer who I think past away and they bought his trees and pots. I have my fingers crossed that its authentic. about half of the pots I looked at had chop marks. Of the seven I bought, I have identified four makers.


Rich
 
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some nice pots!
that last one, I cannot make out the chop too well from your photo. Tofukuji Sr. had about a dozen different chops used and Jr. had a bunch more. This could well be one of them but it is hard for me to make out. If I had a scanner, I could send you the page with the different chops on it. This is a good web page for identifying some of the major Japanese pot makers and some of their chop marks:
http://www.bonsaipotplaza.com/
John
 

rich415

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Thanks John.

I used that website to identify most of the pots. I cropped the last pic to show the chop mark better. My wife says that is reads Toufukuji but the font looks different from the bonsaiplaza site. Maybe you can match it.

Thanks for all your help.

Rich

 

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I have a pretty good shohin pot collection myself. Especially Japanese potters. I agree with what John has said but can take it one step further.

John is this the book you speak of? This is by far one of the best books on shohin out there. This book is 240 pages and contains trees as well as pots. I agree with the sentiment on the utilityware look of this pot. It is machine made , probably clay pushed into a mold and fired at the Tofukuji kiln.


My very good friend and persons responsible for most of my best pots is Bill Hashimoto. His companion Kora Dalager is a travel agent and the one that sets up a lot of Bill Valavanis' tours in Japan. Bill Has brought me pots and Kokufu as well as Gafu-Ten books from Japan. He is seen in Bill's recent video on you tube as the translator for Kobayashi.

I feel this is a Tofukuji due to the chop, but will say that it is not made by the hand of the potter. It has come from the kiln of the potter, like many pots from the Tokoname region. Like many kilns in the region, bonsai pots may be made in spare time while toilets and sewer pipe are made Tuesday thru Saturday.

I have seen some Tofukuji and the chop is always raised, while this one is indented. Probably a chop used to signify where it was fired for a utility potter with no kiln. Much the same way potters today work. They have a potting wheel or work table at home and have to take their wares to a community kiln.

The potter Toufukugi is a different potter of no relation.

I have included some pictures of the chops of Tofukugi.
 

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Some Tofukuji pots.
 

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rich415

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Oh well!

i got some pretty good pots. none of them cost more than $20 and the last little one with the Toufukuji mark was all of .50.

Thanks for the input Al.


Rich
 

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One last one.

It is very easy to see why this very plain, unglazed, symetrical, machine made pot does not seem to fit the same catagory as the pots I have posted here. These glazed pots have a look that is unmistakable and hand made.

I think the pot in this post was fired there and thats probably about it. The chop was used and maybe even paid for to help sell his wares much the same way Yamaaki works today.
 

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Oh well!

i got some pretty good pots. none of them cost more than $20 and the last little one with the Toufukuji mark was all of .50.

Thanks for the input Al.


Rich

Oh well nothing! You have made a pretty nice haul. Some of those other pots you posted are very nice and worth a c-note or better.

I got a deal like that a few years ago from Johhny Uchida at Grove Way on some shohin pots. I made him an offer for a box of about thirty. What a deal that was.
 

rich415

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Here's a nice pot that I could not identify. It has a few chips in it but was really cheap. I like the glaze.

Rich


 

rich415

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I visit Johnny about once a month since I have gotten into bonsai. He is a great guy and always gives me a deal.

I am pretty excited over the pots. I don't know anything about pots but knew to look for the maker's mark. Most of these will get stored until I have tree proper for their fitting.

Rich
 

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Here s my favorite little accent pot I picked up from the used pot lot. I can't identify the maker using the bonsaiplaza.com.

Rich

 

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The potter Toufukugi is a different potter of no relation.

I have included some pictures of the chops of Tofukugi.


In looking at the translation of both of the signatures, the small round pot is the same signature. My original source shows them as seperate names, but another publication translates them as Tofukugi.


The round pot may be worth a goodly sum of money. There are collectors in Japan that would like to have these back in the country. For fifty cents...you could easily add three zero's behind that 5 maybe even 4 zero's.
 
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rich415

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It's just an accent pot, maybe 3" in diameter. Did Tofukuji make those?
 
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I knew I'd hear from Al. He is another good source of knowledge of shohin pots. I second all his thoughts by the way - I never mentioned the idea of the pot coming from the kiln but not made by Tofukuki but that is also possible. I just went to bed earllier as you guys have another 3 hours on us East Coasters!
Nice pots!
John Romano
PS. Al, that is one of the best books on shohin pottery. There is a book exclusively on Tofukuji that is paper back and with his picture on the cover. If I had a scanner.... I'll try to find a pic online.
 
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rich415

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Thanks for all the help Al and John.

I think I'll go pick up a few more pots this week. I have bought 8 and identified 5 of them. Not bad odds.

Rich
 
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