The below pot is one i was generously given as a wedding gift during my last trip to Japan. I was presented with a small wooden Kiri wood box with a hand written inscription on the front.

The pot and box wrapped in a furoshiki cloth to protect it during its trip to Australia.

Inside was a porcelain pot. I took it out of its box and began to turn it over in my hands. It was clear that it had not begun its life as a bonsai container, but most probably started out as an incense burner. The two drainage holes in the bottom of the pot were definitely done some time after the pot had begun its life.

The pot and its Kiri box.

The walls of the pot are extremely fine and the painted design has a free quality to it.

A detail of the painted design.

I started to do some reasearch on the pot and came up with a website which dates it between 1868-1912. This puts it at around the 100 year old or older mark.

The quote relating to the dating is below:

It is generally accepted that marks that includes “Dai Nippon” in Japanese characters on the whole date to the Meiji (1868-1912) period, reflecting the greatly increased nationalism of that period. However, in stamped versions it also occurred on mass-produced export wares well into the 1930s. (Taken from HERE)

The marking on the bottom. You can see some patina forming which hints to the pots age.

I then had my wife translate the inscription on the front of the box to give a clue to the maker. She translated it as follows:

Top line: えいらく よしごろう (Eiraku Yoshigou)

bottom line: Type of pot ’round’

The person whom gave me the pot showed me the makers entries in these two books. (ONE, TWO) I have the books at home so i will have to sit down one night and find the entries again and see what information they can add.

I feel very lucky to own this pot and it reminds me every time i look at it of the friend who gave it to me. It was a perfect wedding gift (at least for me) and i think it will out last any rice cooker or toaster.