help id-ing saikei pots

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help id-ing saikei pots

Post  Russell Coker on Sat Jun 26, 2010 10:10 pm

Hello everyone.

I'm hoping someone will recognize these pots and share some info on them, here's what I know...

My friend Jean Smith bought these pots in the mid 1980's. I have no idea from whom or from where, Jean had been president of both BSF and BCI and was the editor of BCI magazine at that time so she was well connected. She actually had two of the pots with the river and one of the sea/land pots. I remember her telling me that the Saikei man himself, Toshio Kawamoto, had designed and commissioned the pots, but I don't know who actually made them. One of the river pots and the sea/land pot were signed but have no chops, and the other river pot has 2 chops but no signature. Jean kept the 2 signed pots and sold me the chopped river pot. I have not been able to identify either of the chops or the signature, but my very dim memory tells me that the round chop is Kawamoto's.

The river pot is 21.5 inches long and the sea/land pot is slightly smaller.

Thanks!

Russell







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Re: help id-ing saikei pots

Post  Dale Cochoy on Sun Jun 27, 2010 7:30 pm

Russell,
I have one such pot, un-used which I bought at the Denver ABS show about '97 I think from Mrs. West who was getting rid of her late husbands bonsai business items. ( Along with two Naka Satsuki books, several BIG Masakuni tools and several other pots all at 10yr. old original stickers back prior to '97!)
the pot came with and advertisement flyer from KVN tools ( The old Kiku tool guy from Pa.) who sold them then. I had the idea they were actually made by Kawamoto? They were about 10 yrs in his stock back then.
I had the pot for sale for a while but at the Potomac show in about '98 someone stole the flyer off the pot at my booth. i assumed so they could try to order them, but not knowing the pots and prices were not too be ordered.
I decided to keep it. I'll photo it and the signatures for you. It has green clay and L&W. I sure wish I still had that brochure because it showed all the sizes, colors and original prices. I'm trying to tax my old memory but I believe I gave her about $150 for it on the last day of the show when no one had shown any interest in it other than me. I believe the price in the catalog was about $220 which was several years prior to '97.

I got this old Japanese pot from Mrs. West at the same time.







Regards,
Dale

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Re: help id-ing saikei pots

Post  Russell Coker on Sun Jun 27, 2010 10:38 pm

Hi Dale.

Thanks so much, I figured there had to be a few more of these around. I wish you still had that brochure too. A while back Ed said that he thought he'd seen one in some of Jean's things, but he really hasn't looked through any of that stuff since her passing last year.

I honestly can't remember when I bought it from Jean, it could have been after I got home from Japan so your '87-'88ish year would be about right. And you may be correct that Kawamoto actually made them, I certainly can't say for sure one way or the other. All we can do is compare notes and hope something clicks, and hopefully someone else can fill in more pieces.

I'm eager to see what's on the bottom of your pot. What I can't figure out is why 2 of Jean's pots had the same signature and the other had 2 chops. I think that you made a wise choice not to sell it. Was it the only example from that brochure Mrs. West had or did she have any others? Also, what is the length of your pot? The other pot is beautiful, is it old Shigaraki?

I appreciate you telling me how much she was asking for the pot and what you paid for it. I paid Jean 75$ for the pot, she told me that's what it cost her. Now I have to wonder if that was a wholesale price she passed on to me, or if she just gave it to me.

Russell

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Saikei Pots

Post  saikei on Mon Jun 28, 2010 4:22 pm

I belive that these pots were originaly designed By Toshio Kawamoto for Saikei. The round chop contains the charecter for Sai or Planted/Planting if that is any help other than that I cant be much more help other than to say they are amazing pots and I am so jealous. Smile

Regards,

David Penny

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Re: help id-ing saikei pots

Post  Dale Cochoy on Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:34 pm

Russell,
Here are some shots of my pot. Greenish/grey clay. 22" long. Mine has the hand written signature but no stamps.
This pot has never been potted.
Yes, I wish I still had the brochure also, along with a few other things I've had stolen lately at shows! Evil or Very Mad
At the same PBA show, earlier in the day before I removed it from my tables, John Naka was there for some occasion and as he walked by my booth with his entourage he saw it, picked it up and looked at it, gave it a thumbs up! We were both busy and not wanting to interupt him I did not ask him about it.

Dale






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Re: help id-ing saikei pots

Post  Dale Cochoy on Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:47 pm

Since you like these old pots Russell here is another one I got.
Japanese, hand made ( coiled) with the real touch of the hand in it's work, including FINGERPRINTS in the clay.
I like these old style rivets and often use them in my pots and call them 'old style'. The stamps is very hard to read so I'm not sure about that. It is about 10" across.
I REALLY LIKE this pot and I don't think it was ever potted..

Dale










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Re: help id-ing saikei pots

Post  William N. Valavanis on Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:30 pm

Dale,

I like your old pot. I believe it from the Yamaaki kiln, Tokoname ware Japanese. The color looks off as I don't remember them producing this color clay but perhaps it's the white balance in the photo.

Russell, I believe your pot was made for Toshio Kawamoto. The round seal on the bottom is what Kawamoto used for his Saikei School. I too had one of the color flyers with those pots, but it got toasted in our house fire. But, I do remember when I got the flyer. It was in summer 1970 or autumn 1971 or early 1972 when I studied with him in Tokyo. He also had a color flyer with display tables he was promoting.

Bill

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Re: help id-ing saikei pots

Post  William N. Valavanis on Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:47 pm

Russell<

I just thought of something. I remember seeing an article about those divided pots in an old ABS magazine and just looked it up, they did not get burned.

In the Fall 1968, Vol.2, NO. 3 issue of BONSAI: Journal of the American Bonsai Society the following can be found on page 17, with two photos:

NEW DESIGN IN BONSAI CONTAINERS
A new bonsai container from Japan, marking the first major change in design within decades is now be distributed in the United States. The new, patented container resembles a free form suiban divided into two parts: one with drainage holes for planting, the other without holes for water or sand. The two sections are separated by a built-in divider.

The advanced design is the work of Toshio Kawamoto, noted bonsai master and director of the Bonsai-saikei Institute of Tokyo, and well known in America as the author of Bonsai-Saikei and Saikei, Living Landscapes in Miniature. The contains are a multipurpose design suitable for group plantings, specimen bonsai or accessory plantings of herbs and grasses.

They come in two finishes. Most are made of unglazed brown terra-cotta with the solid section glazed in blue or green, or left unglazed. These are made in seven sizes from approximately seven to twenty-two inches long.

Four very large containers of dark gray-green clay have an irregular sculptured finish. They are handmade with one or two sections for planting and come in twenty-two and twenty-five inch lengths.

The new containers are available from two exclusive distributors: on the west coast, BONSAI- Dan Buckley, 5215 Sandburg Drive, Sacramento, CA; and in the east, KEITH VALLEY NURSERY, McKean Road, Spring House, PA.


WNV Comments: Neither of these two sources are still around. Keith Valley Nursery was operated by Dorothy and Luther Young, both have passed away. Their son Rob, continued the importing business for a while, then eliminated the pots and only distributed tools, first Masakuni, then their own brand, Kiku. Finally he sold the Kiku business to Roger Lehman, Meco Bonsai.

I don't think Dan Buckley is still around. He was quite aged with I last saw him in the early 1970's.

Hope this helps, I did not know they were patented, I'm always learning.

Bill

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Re: help id-ing saikei pots

Post  William N. Valavanis on Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:06 pm

I was just flipping through some old ABS magazines and found this paragraph on page 15 of the Spring 1969 issue (Vol. 3, NO. 1)

BONSAI NOTEBOOK- Report from Japan

Last paragraph:

At a small kiln near Nagoya we met Mr. Keizan Shibata, the potter who makes the divided "Ennen" model (shown with the spruce). From start to finish, this large container requires a month to make. The entire operation is done by hand from the preparation of the clay to the firing. I was interested in the ceramic tools used by Mr. Shibata in his work- these too, were made by him and each designed for a special use. He is the only one now making these containers in Japan.

The article was written by Connie Tokiwa Rosade and includes a photo of Mr. Shibata working on a Tennen natural style container. Chase and Connie Rosade discussed the container with Toshio Kawamoto who must have led him to Tokoname to visit Mr. Shibata.

Bill

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Re: help id-ing saikei pots

Post  Russell Coker on Mon Jun 28, 2010 11:46 pm

Wow!! Bill, you hit the JACKPOT!! I was hoping you'd see this and have some input. I had no idea they were so old. I figured mid 80's, not late 60's. This is really interesting. You confirm 2 of my memories - the pots were made for Kawamoto not by him and the round chop is Kawamoto's. I wonder if the other chop and the signature are Shibata's. Now if we could just figure out the chop vs signature thing.

Dale, I'm with Bill. That's a really good Yamaaki pot with the best mark. And I agree with Bill, that's not a typical Yamaaki clay but I have seen a couple before - although a much softer brown. One was in Japan with the imprint of old Chinese coins, and Jean has one with areas eaten away. Hang on to it.

David, I think you now have some interesting material for your saikeiassociation.org website! I was hoping some of your members may know something about these pots too.

Bill, can you scan any of that info and email it to me? I'm afraid Ed's memory of a brochure has turned out to be an old Tokoname catalog, but there's still hope.

Thanks again guys.

Russell



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Re: help id-ing saikei pots

Post  Dale Cochoy on Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:01 am

Bill,
"They come in two finishes. Most are made of unglazed brown terra-cotta with the solid section glazed in blue or green, or left unglazed. These are made in seven sizes from approximately seven to twenty-two inches long."

Was the pot you got from me about two years ago at the Sept. symposium one of those? It was about 10-12" long, Dark terra cotta with glazed water area. There was also a shallow green oribe pot at the same time.

The hand made coiled pot is actually a darker clay, very dark and groggy with small stones in it also. (which you can see in the closeup) . I wiped it with some mineral oil which might give the wrong impression in my photo ( not too mention my limited photo skills)

So, who belongs to the signature on the Kawamoto pots? I wonder if someone here can read it?
I THINK I'm reading in your notes that the Kawamoto pots were designed by him but built by Keizan Shibata? Is that what you believe?

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Re: help id-ing saikei pots

Post  Dale Cochoy on Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:17 am

While we are at it....
Bill, do you remember the artist that made these small frog pots? He died several years ago. I bought this one from Brussel ( I think) about 20+ years ago. It is made from a mixture of two clays. A lot of time in these small pots!

I also have two that were glazed with a white/greenish thick glaze that I got from Frank Mihalic several years ago. They were broken and in a pile on a shelf and I pieced them back together and touched up the glaze. Here is one.

The third pot/style in my pictures is a photo from someone who got it on eBay for very cheap. I recognized it as being from the same artist but no one I've asked, Brussel, Frank remember the mans name.
















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