The shapes of pots-1

Part 1

Photo – CSCeramique

In the bonsai pot market it has a multitude of pot shapes, but they only derive from two basic shapes.

The circle and the square!!!

As we saw in a previous article ( How to recognize if my bonsai is feminin or masculin ? ) , round shapes are associated with trees of the feminin gender and masculin trees are harmonized with square pots. But it wouldn’t make sense to have only two choices of pot shapes in the bonsai world.

We know very well that trees are not strictly feminine or masculine. There is always one genre that is dominant over the other.

Fortunately, many centuries ago Japanese potters developed pot shapes that derived from these two basic figures in order to create pot styles that better harmonized with the different types of bonsai trees.

The round pot

It is very much associated with feminine trees.
We very often notice literate ( Bunjing ) or informal upright ( Moyogi ) style trees with this type of pot.

They are ideal for trees that have a very soft and sinuous trunk line. They are suitable for both deciduous and coniferous trees.

We find this style of pots with different heights, because they can be used for styles ranging from the literate ( Bunjing ) to the waterfall style ( Kengai ).

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The square pot

This one is associated with masculine type trees, as they have angles and straight lines.
Generally, these trees are conifers, because they are very often massive and they regularly include « jings » and dead wood which accentuates the masculine side of the bonsai.

Their heights are less flexible than feminine trees, as they are generally more massive trees so the pot should reflect the gender of the tree.

Oval and rectangular pots

It can be said that these two forms are largely the most used in bonsai. They can be used for both conifers and deciduous trees.

You must have guessed it, the oval shape is made for bonsai of the feminine gender while the rectangular shape is for the masculine gender.

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If you have a tree that is not completely masculine and also has some femenine characteristics.
You can use a square or rectangular shaped pot, but using pots with rounded corners would be perfect for emphasizing certain feminine characters.

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Special shapes

In the examples that follow, we will find different shapes of pots, but for genders that are said to be feminine or masculine.

The elongated forms

Very elongated oval or rectangular pots are generally not very high.

They are used to highlight groves or tree forests. They are useful for deciduous as well as coniferous trees.

We also use these pots for mounting on rock (Ishisuki)

Les polygones

Some shapes of polygons are used like;

• Hexagons (6 sides)
• Octagons (8 sides)

These forms are regularly used for flowering trees.
The height of the cut is often deep. They are also used regularly with the cascade (Kengai) and semi-cascade (Han-kengai) styles.

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Compound shapes

For these shapes, these are the same criteria as oval or rectangular pots, but with more refinements.

You can use these forms if you want to give more interest to the character you want to demonstrate.

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This is to be continued…

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