An Interesting Surprise?

Last month I received a group of pots I had purchased from Japan in a lot, nothing special, just 10 pots sold as a group that looked decent. I didn’t look too closely before I purchased them, because, well, cheap.
It was a good buy, because their were nice stamped pots in there, but nothing special, mostly production grade Tokoname and Chinese. But, looking closely, there was this….



Holy crap! Does that say “東福寺”?! Yes, it sure does.
And for comparison, here’s a verifiable stamp.

A spot on match right? Yes, it is. Let’s all get excited for me!!
Okay stop. Because, Well, this pot is faker than monopoly money. Faker than wax lips. Faker than The Hills. Or as Lil Wayne says, “Faker than some flour in a powder bag.” Okay, enough with the analogies, it’s fake. Well, maybe not that fake, it might be Second Generation but I doubt it. So, what can we learn?

First off, don’t buy anything from sites like Buyee and Jauce.  They only exist to lighten your wallet for BS pots, forgeries, And damaged goods.
Second, refer back to when you all got super excited for me. The Chops. Theyre a dead on match. Perfect in every detail. So, what does that tell you about Chops and forgeries? That’s right. Chops should be the LAST thing we look at when evaluating authenticity of famous artists. It’s by far the easiest piece of information that one must duplicate for a decent forgery.
So, how do we tell? The work Of the artist must be known very very well to distinguish a real from a fake. And the Tofukuji book simply is not enough to go by, for the most part, because the pots showcased in there are all exceptional, landmark examples of the work of an artist whose pottery career spanned 40 years. In addition to the world class pieces, you need to study less exceptional work as well, since it makes up the bulk of the catalog(and you’re unlikely to be authenticating anything of book quality any time soon!).
In this pot, there are several things that simply aren’t kosher. Let’s start with the clay.
The color is all wrong. While Tofukuji used several different types of clay(beggars can’t be choosers and Tofukuji live in poverty), none of them resemble this. It’s too dark, lacks chamotte, and also looks relatively modern.
Then there is the rope design on the rim. While this is feature of Heian Kouzan Pots, not so much Tofukuji. And the nail carved designs on the walls? Well, this is a technique that Tofukuji used a lot, following in the footsteps of the third Ueda Naokata, from whom he also learned the Terebineri method(hand turning). But these are way overdone. Tofukuji used wavelike lines, ripples, and dots, never geometric designs.
Then, there’s the total lack of patina. If real, this is a cool little pot, so it would’ve seen some heavy duty action in the last 40-80 years. The lack of patina is a glaring sign(although it isn’t always).
There are a couple of things that are right about the pot, on the other hand. The cut feet are stylistically a match. The tool marks on the interior look good and are common to Tofukujis. The drainage holes are of a decent size for earlier work Tofukuji. And, best of all, the forger left a small amount of clay from the cut to the drainage holes, and did not buff it out or finish it. This is a Tofukuji trademark(well, it is now. At the time he was just being sloppy. Our good fortune!). But these good points don’t nearly add up to the detractions above.

In any event, best 10$ I ever spent. Thanks for reading! Up next: Baking 101(not what you think), Pots from My Collection 16: 8 New Bushuan, and Pots from My Collection 17.
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, My Personal Collection, Pot Info, ID, Hanko, Books, ect.. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s