Heian Kouzan(平安香山)Part 2

My apologies to everyone who received this post earlier today in error. Hit the publish key instead of the draft key! All too easy to do on a phone! Now for the real post!
In Part 1 of our look at the pottery of Heian Kouzan, we looked at glazed and painted pots. In today’s post, Part 2, we’ll take a look at unglazed Heian Kouzan, the pots of Heian Kouzan 2nd Generation, some shohin bonsai in Heian Kouzan pots, and Heian Kouzan artist marks.
Unglazed Heian Kouzan

It’s easy to see that this a masterpiece of first generation Kouzan pottery. The burnished clay is lovely, and the pot’s strong lines are softened up considerably by the feet and bottom band.

While the photo quality of this selection of views of the pot isn’t great, one can still see the great craftsmanship, and rare, early post-war triple stamp.

The unglazed brother to the quartet of glazed Kouo pots in part 1. Clean lines and lovely clay with a great burnished finish.

This selection comes from frequent contributor to the site Matt Ouwinga of Kaede Bonsai En. The clay is more rustic than typical Kouzan pots.

An unglazed Kouo from my collection. The 6 footed base and hemp rope rim are characteristic Kouzan, used in both early and late work. For an incredible example of earlier work, fired in a climbing kiln, in this style, see Peter Warren’s translated article in the first Bonsai Focus of the year. There’s a great piece in there with a fine oil droplet glaze!

Detail of bottom showing the feet and Kouo porcelain signature.

A matched pair of Kouo with box and signed cloth. It’s rare to find Kouzan or Kouo with signed box and cloth, rarer still to find a matched pair. The strong bold lines of the pots are typical of Kouo unglazed pots.

A brown clay pot with Kouzan’s typical strong lines and cloud feet

A semi cascade square Kouzan.

A very typical Kouzan with brown clay and cloud feet. Straight lines and clean work from “the Razor Kouzan”.

A shallow rectangle in red clay, from my collection. Although it’s signed “Kouzan” I believe it to be from a short while before taking the name “Kouo”.

And for our last look at unglazed Kouzan, we have An unglazed rectangle with black landscape. The pot itself, with it’s clean, sharp lines is characteristic of Kouzan’s work, though the black overglaze enamel is a rarity.
Second Generation Heian Kouzan
Second Generation Kouzan are most typically rounds, as Kouzan Jr was a master of the wheel. While his non wheel thrown pots are nice, they don’t approach the quality and fine detail of the father.

A trio of Kouzan Jr’s from my collection. The taller cascade is typical of Kouzan Jr work, as are the two different sized Kinyo ovals.

A yellow crackle from second Generation Kouzan. A really excellently glazed piece.

A very atypical Kouzan Jr. The glaze work is very nice and unique. Note the signature at the upper left: “Shin Kouzan”.
Heian Kouzan Artist Marks

The most commonly seen Kouzan marks. The last two were used by both the 1st and 2nd generation, but are much more common on second generation pots.


These stamped chops are first generation, and and are regarded as early work.

This one is a true rarity, and seen on both 1st and second generation Kouzan. The chop is called “Yamaha Sen”, and Kouzan pots with this chop were specially commissioned by Mr. Hatanaka, author of the famous book on bonsai pottery.

Early edition nail carved first generation signature.

Shin Kouzan, second generation nail carved signature.
Shohin Bonsai in Heian Kouzan Pots

A really nice Chicken blood glazed oval holding a very very nice “stinky maple”. The deciduous Japanese Premna is my favorite species of late, they’re unbelievably vigorous and ramify very fast.

Umemodoki in a ko-Kinyo oval from Second Generation Kouzan.

Kinrobai, or potantilla, and a very nice one at that, in a darker blue glazed Kouzan shallow rectangle.

Chirimen Kazura, or dwarf asiatic jasmine, in a robins egg glazed rectangle with cloud feet.

Black pine in an unglazed Kouzan rectangle. Most Kouzan are a bit too shallow and not Imposing enough for top of the rack shohin, but this one works well.

White pine in an unglazed Kouzan. A really nice pairing.

Another Umemodoki, Ilex Serrata, in a light blue first generation Kouzan. I never get tired of Red fruiting varieties in blue pots.

Broom Style Zelkova in a blue first generation Kouzan oval. A designated treasure shohin bonsai.

Maple in a characteristic Kouzan rectangle.

This is something unique! We don’t often see Shinpaku in glazed pots, much less recognized shohin treasures! Somehow, it works, though it’s certainly off putting at first, as nothing more than custom.

A raft, or sinuous root, style kaede bonsai in a deeper blue glazed Kouzan. Often, artists will leave the glaze off the feet to show off the clay. In this case, the clay compliments the trunk color, a very nice detail.

And last, I stepped outside this afternoon and snapped a quick pic of one of my shohin Zelkova brooms, in a yellow second generation Heian Kouzan pot. Here in the deep deep south, early November is still early fall, before the leaves change. This was one of the trees I was planning to use for a shohin display submission for Artisans Cup. A few days in the fridge and Bam! Red and yellow fall colors days before the show. Would’ve looked great with the yellow Kouzan pot. Already looking forward to 2015!

Thanks for reading this second part of the pottery of Heian Kouzan. I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Up next, painted pots from Shunka Shozan, the whimsical minis of Heian Sho-ami, and antique Chinese pots!


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 gastrognome@aol.com
This entry was posted in Famous and Antique Potters, My Personal Collection. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Heian Kouzan(平安香山)Part 2

  1. aman says:

    I am loving these pots (especially the yellow round 2nd gen. Kouzan pot).

  2. Thanks for the follow up. I really enjoy the back stories.

    • japanesepots says:

      Thanks Al! I enjoy finding them and sharing. They’re the REAL reason these pots are often ridiculously priced. Like ground up antique Chinese pots in the Tofukujis! Seriously!? To save money? How cool.

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