Gyouzan: Pots by Nakano Yuuji and Yukizou

Up for your consideration today is a selection of pots by Nakano Yukizou and his son, Nakano Yuuji, of the Gyouzan kiln. Pots by Yukizou are most commonly refered to as “Gyouzan”, while pots by Yuuji are, simply, “Yuuji”, although both are of the Gyouzan kiln. Both generations of Nakano potters are masters of their craft, their work showing exceptional corner and line detail, foot work, and refinement. Their unglazed pots are as exceptional as those by Syuzan and Ryuen. While Gyouzan kiln pots are primarily unglazed, the glazed pots are interesting as well, showing unique colors and creative application. Drainage and tie holes by both generations are often uniquely shaped and arranged in interesting patterns, a signature of the kiln, taking inspiration from antique Chinese pots.
These days, Nakano Yuuji only makes pots to special order. Upon receiving a custom order, Yuuji makes 3 pots to the specifications of the order, and the best of the three goes to the buyer.
Enjoy this selection of pots by master Tokoname potters, Nakano Yuuji and Nakano Yukizou.

Yukizou, 28 x 11cm

Bottom detail

Foot detail

An outstanding square pot with bottom band matching the feet and a great patina. This type of banded bottom and foot can be seen frequently in pots by Syuzan. Note the bottom detail and the drainage and wire tie holes. The center is a style common to antique Chinese pots, and the Numerous holes for drainage and wire are trademarks of Gyouzan.

Yukizou, 54 x 36 x 12cm

Double Banded(raised and indented!)oval with cut feet. I really love the juxtaposition of the two techniques. Note the clean, classical lines and perfect proportions.

Yukizou, 34 x 28 x 10cm

Corner and foot detail

A great rectangle with angle feet, cut corners, and rounded lip. Once again, clean lines mixed with soft curves making for a harmonious balance of masculine and feminine characteristics.

Yukizou, 30 x 25 x 10cm

Bottom detail

Classic unadorned rectangle with sloping sides. The finish is very nice. Note the signature drain holes.

Yukizou, Glazed, 18 x 15 x 6

Side detail

A rectangle glazed pot with cut corners, cloud feet, and an assortment of swath applied blue glazes. A very unique and interesting pot! Tough to find a tree to Stand up to it in anything BUT fall color contrasts of reds and yellows!

Yuuji, 18 x 15.5 x 7.5cm

Our first pot by Yuuji. A rectangle with angle cut feet, rounded lip, low double band, and cut corners. You can really see the mastery of clay in this pot. So many well done, high quality and difficult to execute details! It’s no wonder Tokoname list price for this one off is over $1000!(located on the first of the Tokoname Yuyaku Gallery pages)

Yuuji, 17.5 x 15 x 6cm

A red glazed rectangular with high cloud feet. Very nice softness to both the shape and the reddish brown glaze. I think the silvery gray underglaze really sets this pot apart when it pops out on the feet.

Yuuji, 18 x 14 x 4.7

A green glazed oval with cut feet and rounded lip. Great depth and complexity to this simple green, and easily usable for a great number of species.

Yuuji, 47 x 40 x 12cm

Corner detail

Indented corner oval with small lip, low center and bottom band, and angle cut feet. Another pot showing a very high degree of skill with numerous hard to execute details. That the feet correspond with indentations, essentially adding “corners” to an oval is striking, as in detail photo. MathematicianS rejoice! They HAVE squared the CIRCLE!

Yuuji, 41 x 34 x 10cm

A simple soft rectangle with low indented band and cut feet. I like this pot for it’s color. The clay is a soft but rich red, while the style pairs well with so many upright conifer forms.

Yuuji, 40 x 32 x 10cm

Another indented oval, with Matching feet and sloping sides. As each Gyouzan pot is a handmade one off, its pivotal and necessary to observe styles and patterns. Contrary to popular opinion in the west, the chop doesn’t make the pot…the pot makes the chop! There are so many different ways to fake a perfect chop. “Nail” Signatures(where the potter actually signs the clay, like a check, can be duplicated EXACTLY with computer routers…in old, already fired pots that have patina! Chops can be duplicated exactly with casting methods. The ONLY way to tell a fake from a real is knowledge of the potter, his style, his tools, his signature moves. If you like Gyouzan, this is important, because(quote me here) there will one day be many forgeries of Yuuji’s work!

Yuuji, 25 x 12.5cm

Bottom detail

A curvaceous cascade or semi cascade, with cloud feet and NO angles…soft and feminine! Maybe even too soft, I find very little of masculine essence here, this pot is suited to a very lithe GoyoMatsu or Shinpaku.

Yuuji, 38 x 30 x 11cm

Interior detail

Strong rectangle with cut feet, minimally rounded lip, sloping sides, and a thick, low, sharpish band. One of the most masculine Gyouzan pictured today. Once again we see those unusual drainage holes, intentionally arranged, this Time in a circle, the contrary of the form it seeks to drain. A true sign of forethought and quality pot artistry. The circle of the drainage and the circle(or cycle) of our trees, and their seasons, the four seasonal corners wherin we enjoy their beauty. It is only when an object CAN mean more than it’s surface appearance that it becomes art in true…do you think this qualifies?

I hope youve enjoyed the marvelous pots by Yuuji and Yukizou.
Ive heard from so many of you in the last couple of weeks, and I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to look and read my mental dribbling about bonsai pottery. To my friends in Spain, “Hola…you guys are SOOOO lucky to have Kevin Wilson around!”. In France “As a Chef, your food rules all, may your tree forays fare as well!” And in Britain, Germany, and the middle union, “Wie Gehts?…thanks for reading!


About japanesepots

I've been collecting Japanese Bonsai pots for a few years, and feel that the famous, and some of the lesser known but great Japanese pot artists could do with a little more writing and exposure in English. Additionally, this blog will feature My own And others bonsai for discussion. The purpose of this blog is to further knowledge of Japanese pottery and Japanese style bonsai. If you have any questions about Japanese bonsai pottery, or would like to acquire pots by some of the potters presented in the blog, feel free to email me at
This entry was posted in Famous and Antique Potters, Modern Potters, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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