One of our favorite potters Heian Tofukuji, despite the absolute number of fakes in the market, has a highly recognizable style of glazing his pots. Unfortunately, he passed away some 30 years ago but the demand for his pots are still high due to his ability in using color and the style of his pots. Even though most of his pots are for shohin trees, there are a few much larger pots priced accordingly.
So let’s take a peek a few new pots to us.
We really like this pot. The glaze is quite heavy for this small pot and the lion’s head on the ends make for a nice design. We have seen this style of pot in shows before and in 2009 one was for sale in the Nippon Shohin Auction but we have never seen one for sale outside of that venue.
This is the less common artist mark, the most common being the trident leaf, and gives the reader a good view of the type of clay that was used. One way to detect fakes is to look not only at the quality of the glaze but the color and texture of the clay itself.
A similar pot but a bit deeper with a much lighter green glaze. Tofukuji’s smaller pots seem to exhibit more use of color (shades, variations) that his larger pots. Notice that both of these are pretty consistent in color across the entire pot.
Due to lighting conditions this pot looks blue rather than green but it is the same pot. Note the same artist mark and the same clay. Due to the very bad lighting conditions when these pots were shot it is the same clay – notice the texture as being key. We apologize for the lack of color correction in the photographs but we had to take what we could get.
A much more common pot shape for Tofukuji and accordingly a bit more affordable. Pots of this type range from $600-1,200 depending on the Yen-to-dollar conversion rate.
A very interesting glaze for a small pot. It keeps a visual interest for us but doesn’t have quite the depth of this pot which we have shown before on our blog.
Our favorite Tofukuji pot with exquisite glaze and the use of color is outstanding. If you don’t “get” this pot, my suggestion is to study it for a while – let your imagination take over while concentrating on it. The depth of this glaze is exceptional and with our over active imagination we can visualize a lot by watching this pot. We would have loved to talk to him after this pot was made to understand what he say in it – as importantly to have been able to purchase it!
We have always loved the way he brings his glaze over the lip of the pot – often a spot or two dripping down the interior. In some cases, Tofukuji brings the glaze deep into the interior of the pot to harmonize with the outside glaze of the pot.
Notice in this closeup the use of color. The darker green, the lighter green and even some shades of brown.
Another great example of his clay in the last two photos. Note the “graininess” of the clay as compared to say the purple clay often used in antique Chinese pots that is extremely smooth.
This is one way to tell if the pot is genuine or not. If the clay doesn’t have this texture and color then buyer beware. That is not to say that he didn’t use other clay types – we will show you an example in a moment – but be careful because there are so many fakes in the market.
We are not potters so I don’t know the name or category of this clay but we do like it. I have yet to find a clay like this in the US – this brown with specks of white color. The aberration in this photo is what causes the pot and stand to look out of kilter. I haven’t a clue as to how this pot would be used. It is deeper than wide, but close to a square. Lovely cloud feet and a decent patina around the feet and lip of the pot.
One can see this pot has been used as each of the drainage holes has the marks of water drainage – that white hazy color. The same artist mark is being used and it provides you an idea of the size of this pot. It is actually a bit larger than the two green glazed pots above. Perhaps a black pine for this pot?