So, I promised an individual post on the 3 generations of the Tsukinowa line of bonsai potters, and we’ll start with the most recent.
Tsukinowa Shousen was born in 1960. He truly embodies the spirit and skill of his Grandfather, Tsukinowa Yusen, perhaps the greatest painter of bonsai pottery. He has the same attention to detail, and marvelous brushwork of his grandfather, yet uses the different firing techniques of his father, Tsukinowa Shunseki, which are better than those of Yusen, resulting in less kiln flaws and warpage.
Because of the extremely high value and relative scarcity of Yusen pots, many forgeries exist. The only ones I’ve seen are pretty clear, it’s much more difficult to imitate Yusen’s extremely skillful painting than, say, a glaze color or a clay type, as in some very well done forgeries of Tofukuji and Heian Kouzan. Because of the forgeries of his grandfathers work, all Shousens come with a numbered certificate of authenticity, stamped and signed box, and stamped and signed turmeric cloth; forgery proof!
For those who love Yusen’s work, yet don’t have 6 grand to drop on a shohin pot, the pots of his grandson are a great alternative! Still pricey, but 1/8-1/4 the cost of a similiar Yusen! Production levels are very low(the highest number Ive seen on a certificate is 500)so their price should continue to rise.
We’ll begin with all four views of this semi-cascade red, and the aforementioned accoutrements. Note that the certificate is dated, numbered in the top left, and looks to be virtually forgery proof. This is a great piece. A different feeling is presented by each side, from quiet and serene, to busy and strong. Would suit a wide variety of trees.
An awesomely detailed 5 color with far view winter landscape of mountains and a lake. Very conservative use of colors makes this 5 color much quieter than others, which often appear a little cartoonish. I especially like the black robed figure, which provides an off center focal point.
A really great sometsuke with water scene and boat. Very dark indigo color, fine brushwork and detail, and a scene very reminiscent of Yusen. There is a great sense of depth to the painting with the water and mountains receding into the distance on the right.
Another great red with an equestrian scene. I really like the feet of this piece, very unique!
A 5-color pot with a great colored blue base and arabesques. I like the quiet feeling evoked from this piece.
Another highly detailed, dark sometsuke with a waterfront landscape. Like Yusen, Shousen’s blues are very dark, in stark contrast to painters like Gekkou or Joshu Shouzan, whose blues tend to be much lighter in tone.
A highly detailed red oval with awesome brushwork. I like the willow to the left, and the negative space to the right, also the rim painting.
Another highly detailed 5-color rectangle. Again, conservative use of the bright 5-colors avoids the cartoonish appearance. Horses, lakes, boats and distant mountains…see a pattern yet?
Another red, rectangle this time, with a mountainous landscape on one side and horse and rider on the other. This red is the twin to the 5 color above, note the difference in feeling and weight between the same scene painted two different ways. I’m willing to bet these are copies of famous Yusens, which were probably copies of famous Ando scroll paintings….
Another sometsuke rectangle with lakeside scene and mountains in the distance. The rim detail is nice.
This square red has it all! A cliffside, window painted landscape with horse and rider, lake and boats in the distance.
And we’ll finish up with a 5-color detail study of a waterfowl. The vast majority of Shousens I’ve seen are landscapes, this piece is an anomaly. Wonderfully detailed, realistic painting! I really like the feet as well.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this selection of pots from the current Generation of the Tsukinowa lineage! I, for one, can’t wait to see what the next generation will do!
If you’re interested in acquiring a Tsukinowa Shousen, drop me a line at Gastrognome at aol dot com, they’re by no means common, but I see a couple a month pop up for sale.