Tofukuji pots enjoy a top-shelf spot in any collector’s display. He was a master of glazes, shape and form. All without a kiln of his own, and never to be recognized for his work in his lifetime. A few years ago one of his pots appeared online showing a number of his chops stamped into the inside of a pot.
I thought it was pretty cool from a collector’s perspective to see many of his chops immortalized in their own media. Matt Ouwinga owns this one. Recently he offered another chop-adorned pot for sale, and I was able to add it to my collection.
This pot has over 2 dozen chop marks, representing most (not all) of Tofukuji’s chops. It’s the pottery equivalent to an autograph book, on one of his recognizable primitive shapes.
He’s the only Japanese Bonsai pot maker with a book dedicated to his works. In that book, a couple pages show his chop marks. I’ve been trying to translate the captions under each chop, to limited success. Any corrections or additions would be welcomed. Google Translator is rough when it comes to this type of writing.
Top row, left to right:
3, the very recognizable maple leaf
Second row, left to right:
4. His signature
5. I think reserved for his larger and best works
6. Also reserved for his larger and better works
Third row, left to right:
7. Seen commonly on his shohin-sized ovals and rectangles
10. One of 4 signature chops, often on his organic, hand-formed round pots
Fourth row, left to right:
13. (My New pot has several of this chop)
14. From the translator below, a very rarely-used chop
Fifth row, left to right:
17. Hand-painted signature
And a few other examples of his work from the book where he stamped the pots: