The Bonsai Ceramics of Syu-zan (舟山)

Updated: Oct 8, 2020

The Bonsai Ceramics of Syu-zan (舟山)


For those of you that don’t know, I’ve been actively learning and collecting more and more Bonsai ceramics.  In Japan, most of the pottery that I come across tend to either be Chinese or Japanese.  In this post I’m going to talk about one of my favorite Japanese maker and show some examples of his work.

Syu-zan 1928-1988

Syu-zan was born in Mie Prefecture in Tsu-city and grew up to become a Banker till 1971 when he decided to quit his job and become a full-time ceramics maker.  Syu-zan produced pots for 17 years in Aichi Prefecture, Togo ward, east of Nagoya city (Aichien is in Nagoya) till his death in 1988.

Syu-zan’s ceramics are well-known in Bonsai circles in Japan because of his Chinese Antique inspired works.  He is also one of the few Japanese pot makers that are considered to have produced high enough quality Bonsai ceramics that they are often used in Kokufu-ten.  Syu-zan liked how the 18th and 19th century Chinese pots looked and wanted to reproduce them with his own personal touch.  He even went to the extent of importing clay from China and mixing it with Japanese clay.  His modifications of the Chinese designs included increased depth and a refined/rough textured style that works well with bonsai.  All of his ceramics are made by hand.

I had conversation with Mr. Tanaka about Syu-zan and he says that he especially likes his works because they showed that the maker loved bonsai.  Mr. Tanaka’s belief is that a bonsai pot maker that loves bonsai tend to produce pots that work best with bonsai.

So enough talk, lets check out some of Syu-zan’s works!