Prunus Mume (3b of 4)

The verdict…

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About the round Tokoname pot. It’s a 13.25″ x 4.5″ deep Touyou by Mr. Matsumoto Takeshi. Lindsey Farr visited the kiln in his World of Bonsai Series, episode 11: http://ofbonsai.org/galleries/videos/world-of-bonsai-series-one-episode-11-tokoname-aiba-koyo-matsumoto-touyou-dragon-trident-2. Why this pot? First, I really like the pot, and felt that the composition worked. The angles of the trunk contrast well with the softer curves of the round pot, especially where it turns inward at the bottom. The nailheads add just enough texture to compliment the bark. I like umes in unglazed, dull or dark glazed pots because to me, the charm of an ume is in the contrast between a feel of great age, and the freshness of the new flowers. I don’t want a pot that will compete at this time of year. As it ramifies more, the green Chinese oval can look nice, as would an old, dark stoneware unglazed oval, or an antique round turquoise or dark blue pot with a nice wide lip.

About the other pots…
The blue oval Yamaaki is a gorgeous pot, but at 2.5″ deep and nearly 19″ wide, it is far too shallow and wide for this tree. The color would compliment the flowers, and the seasoned patina of the 20+ year old pot would have complimented the rough bark well. However, the wide and shallow oval shape is a little better suited for a feminine deciduous tree.

The round dragon houtoku is very deep and too ornate. Somehow, the design competes with the bark and doesn’t t present a quiet feel. Additionally, the quality of the pot doesn’t approach the quality of the tree. This might not come through in the photo, but the disparity exists.

The Chinese green oval was a close second, and really a toss up. The size is good at 14.5″x3.75″, and the shape is just ornate enough to compliment, but not detract. The pot is not a terribly expensive pot, but is well made, and does have some age to it. The white blooms would look great with this pot, and I will likely use it at some point. Part of the decision process includes considerstion for the primary season the tree will be shown. While the green color won’t look great with the foliage color, the show season for the ume is while it’s in bloom, not in leaf. The glaze may help retain just a little more soil moisture in the heat of summer.

The green rectangle houtoku has a good shape, but is again, at 18″, too wide and a bit too shallow. Honestly, I do not care for this pot, as it’s more oribe than green, and as much as I like the tree, I want to enjoy it in a pot I like as much too. More personal than anything.

The Yixing Zisha oval is a bit small at 13.5″ wide and 3.25″ deep, but it could have worked. The shape is a bit simple, but I like feet that are part of the body. If the clay body was a little higher quality, this would have been a serious candidate.

The jade round tokoname pot is 12″x4.75″, so very deep, and if it was an inch or two wider and shallower it may have worked. The glaze is a bit too shiny for the tree. The blooms would have looked good, but the bright glaze doesn’t compliment the rough bark.

The rectangle unglazed tokoname pot wasn’t an expensive pot, but is good quality, made by master potter Mr. Shigeharu; stamped by the maker and its been in use for 7-8 years, so it is starting to develop a bit of age. The color works well with the bark, and sets off the Shari nicely. Unfortunately, at 16″ wide and 4.5″ deep, it is just too big.

The tree itself is 19″ tall, and the trunk is 4″ wide at the soil, and is an estimated 50 years old, with white double flowers, unryu.

Thanks for looking!

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