For today’s post we will look at 2 Heian Tofukuji pots in the collection of bonsai artist and fellow American pot collector Matt Ouwinga. Matt has a great eye for pots and the most extensive collection of Tofukuji pots in the States.
Both of these pots were in the collection of Yorozuen at one time or another, the first was purchased from them directly. Yorozuen, run by three generations of the Hukano family, has some of the highest credentials a nursery can possess, both for pottery and for shohin bonsai. The youngest Hukano is Executive Director of the National Bonsai Pieces Association(the official pottery organization) and the middle Hukano is also an official advisor.
Now…on to the pots!
An exceptionally glazed Tofukuji round green drippy pot with black glaze painted stiching. The kiln changes to the glaze in this pot are spectacular, mottled and drippy in some places, clear and defined in others. I think the mottling could have come from the coarsness of the clay, which may be quite intentional, and not always owing to the local clay quality. Many potters intentionally insert small rocks and pebbles, which explode in the kiln, creating a coarse appearance, quite a common technique in Shigaraki. A true masterwork, this pot is one of the rarest of the rare. The stamp is called “mokube”. There are only 10 authentic Tofukuji pots with this stamp in existence. It is early work, around 60 years old. At one point, Yorozuen had 7 of the 10, this was the last of them. The master there does not believe that any will appear for sale again.
A great tiny little cascade. There are a couple of things that make this pot exceptional. First is the footing. While there are other Tofukuji pots with this style of base and feet, they are very rare. Next is the glaze. It’s quite difficult to find half glazed pots with such clearly defined angles to the run, oweing, I suppose, to the difficulty of the technique. The color to the glaze is also nice. Third is the chop. This chop, like the one before, is also rare(though not 10 pots in existence rare!)and a bit rarer for being on the outside of the pot, but what makes it unique is that it’s inlaid in gold, that’s one of one status for sure!
I hope you enjoyed seeing these pots as much as I do! For more on Matt’s exceptional collection, and some great seedling stock, visit