Those of you who frequent the IBC forums will remember a fantastic and strange pot I identified for Dan Barton, who had picked it up in Japan and didnt know who made it. It was made by Okatani Zeshin, and I thought it would be nice to show some more examples of his work.
Zeshin is a relatively unknown potter here in the west, but in Japan he is very well known, his pots have been very influential for the current generation of carving potters, and some of his pots fetch very high prices, over $500. His carvings are surreal, strange, trippy, Suessian, and sometimes downright weird. Some of his favorite motifs include “repeating Monks” reliefs, animals(either as a relief, pattern, or the shape of the pot as a whole), especially crabs, frogs, and owl, landscapes, and “freeform wierdness.” His glazes and techniques are every bit as masterful as his carving and pot technique, featuring unique colors with great depth and interesting application.
He passed away in 1997, and was member of the famous Yokohama Guild(a group of Bonsai potters who make small pots) and influenced several potters of this group.
Here is a selection of Okatani Zeshin pots. Special thanks to fellow collector and Bonsai artist Matt Ouwinga for photos and Gerry Novotny for allowing use of his extensive collection of Zeshin pots, easily the largest in the United States, probably the largest outside of Japan.
Hope you enjoyed the pots of Okatani Zeshin! I know I do! Ill feature a few more of his carvings in an upcoming post, along with his many Hanko and Rakkan.