Ichinokura Sekisyu was born in 1925. He first opened the kiln “Koho” in 1956, and was primarily focused on tea cups and similar wares. Beginning in 1970, he began producing small bonsai pots under the Koho name, and in 1972, began producing pots under his own name, Ichinokura Sekisyu.
He is known for a very unique style of painting, and especially famous for his inset window paintings. Pots of the Sekisyu line are rare, it’s estimated than only 100 or so exist. Pots from the Koho line are as prolific as the Sekisyu pots are rare, they’re everywhere and quite inexpensive.
Like Tofukuji and Heian Kouzan, Sekisyu’s works are highly diverse, showing great skill in multiple mediums. Also like these two giants, his followers are legion, and he has had a profound impact on contemporary bonsai pottery.
Now, on to the pots!
From all four sides, a great example o the window, or panel, painted pots that Sekisyu is famous for. The panels have great detail, and little to no bleed beyond the borders. The calligraphy I also beautiful, and the reversal of color(blue on white for the landscapes, white on blue for the calligraphy) is spectacular.
We’ll move away from window pots for just a second to show this awesome blue glazed oval with white overglaze figures. My favorite Sekisyu. Sublimely elegant and understated. Can’t say enough about this one!
Back to window pots for Another true masterpiece! Take note of the zero bleed in the panel, the lovely details to the landscape, and excellent calligraphy. A famous Sekisyu of virtually identical design appears in the Kinbon Encyclopedia of pots on page 81.
And we’ll finish up with Sekisyu glazed an unglazed pots with this red…See why he’s famous for reds now?
Koho pots are plentiful and cheap, though some are quite nice. They can go a high price wise as 150-200$, but for the most part, they are quite inferior to Sekisyu pots. It’s very easy to see from the paintings on Kohos why they’re priced so much more cheaply than Sekisyu: it’s not just availability and rarity, there’s a definite quality difference!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse at the pottery of Ichinokura Sekisyu! Thanks for reading! Up next: Wazyaku!