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Today we are a week away from heading to Japan to attend Kokufu, the Orchid Show, Kyoto and of course the Ueno Green Club.  It is our hope to find a few nice suiseki to bring back as the Green Club often has a few dealers who exclusively deal with stones only.

A few months ago, I was doing my daily review of web sites in Japan and came across a site that sold principally bonsai and a few suiseki.  This day though they had posted about 5 dobans. Dobans are bronze or copper trays used to display suiskei.  Not to be confused with suibans which are made from clay and can be glazed or non-glazed.

This merchant had three small bronze dobans on his site.  Frankly, I have rarely seen small dobans and the prices seemed reasonable so we purchased all three of them.

I don’t know about you, but we find in bonsai trying to match a tree, to a pot to a stand is at best a difficult proposition.  So when it comes to doing the same with suiseki – I think you get the picture.  It is often very difficult to have just the right components in one’s collection to create a decent display.

Mountain Stone in Bronze Doban  (Doban - 9.5 x 6.5 x 1 cm)

Mountain Stone in Bronze Doban (Doban - 9.5 x 6.5 x 1 cm)

I purchased this small cut stone about a year ago and commissioned a diaza for it which turned out nicely; however, I always wanted to place this stone in a doban.  Out of the three bronze dobans this came the closest to fitting the stone; yet to me it still feels a bit confined.

Regardless, we like the look and it does display nicely on one of our shelves.  Can I find a doban that fits it perfectly – doubtful!  But we will continue to look.  The suiseki looks to us like a far mountain stone or toyoma-ishi.

The doban unfortunately did not have a potter’s mark so we have no idea who made this lovely little doban.  It is unfortunate when this isn’t done as it makes it very difficult to ever determine who the artist was who certainly spent hours making this doban.

But as in antique Chinese bonsai pots, the lack of a chop isn’t an indication of lack of quality as we have seen many, many antique pots with simply no mark but incredible patina and style.

As can be seen from the photo, this is an old doban with a very nice patina though we doubt it is an antique for many reasons.  Regardless, we appreciate that the craftsman spent many hours making this doban and its other cousins.

Let us know what you think!

I hope to post from Japan, so if you are interested tune in on February 9th to see what we find at the Green Club.

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