24th annual Goman Goku Bonsai Exhibition

Hey folks!  It’s Danny Coffey, back with another article.  This month I’ll be sharing some photos of the 24th annual Goman Goku Bonsai Exhibition in Okazaki Japan.


Daijuen Bonsai Nursery hosts this show each year and its a pleasure to have been able to work at this show again this year.  The first few photos I want to share is a short sequence of the exhibition set up.  I had to use my cell phone for these first shots. Sorry, the image quality is low but you can still see what’s going on.





After a few hours of work, it all comes together.  It’s amazing to see how efficient all of the people involved have gotten at setting up this show.  It’s basically the same formula repeated each year.  So everyone knows what needs to be done.  When it all comes together and everything is in its place the exhibition looks great!

Alright, the following is going to be the bulk of the photos for this post.  I’ll start it off with a few wide view shots, then a few shots of the isles and then each tree.  I kinda feel like everything speaks for itself, maybe as I’m uploading these I’ll add some commentary if I really feel its necessary.  If anything is unclear or you want more commentary or info about a specific photo or tree, send an email and I’ll get back to you with more information.

here we go!






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gg42The next group is from the front row.  The main feature of the show.

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The next group of photos is from center stage.  A pair of amazing and very high dollar Chinese antique bonsai pots.  They are both in the 200-300 years old range.  Antiques from this era are not always easy to pin down an exact year.  There are some clues that can be used to get a better idea, such as clay type, style, structure and finish.  However there are no stamps or names on these specific pots.  Nothing clearly indicating the exact maker or time of production on these pots.  So its really only possible to determine they are at minimum 200 years old and at maximum about 300, and It’s possible to know they came from China.  Kinda casting a wide net, right?  I won’t pretend to know all of the exact history in terms of political climate of the time in question and the relationship between China and Japan during this era, but from what I’ve heard and the relatively small amount of research I’ve done on the subject, its safe to say that having these pots here and being able to roughly determine their age is somewhat remarkable.  Even with the 100 year spread in possible dates of production.  gg47

The first of the two has actually been broken and professionally repaired.  Even as a repaired pot it still holds a substantial price tag.  There is a photo of a photo of the pot in its shattered state, prior to the repair work.  Then an after shot of the repair site. gg48 gg49 gg50

The Second pot in this set is in fine condition with only a few chipped areas on the lip.  Those have been professionally repaired with silver.  Of the two, I like this one the most.  Its beautifully crafted and has a perfect arch.  There is just something special about a pot with this type of arch.  The feet still sit flat on the table, but the body of the pot bows upward.  The result is a pot that – from proper viewing distance – almost looks more flat than a pot that is in fact flat.  Trying to wrap my thoughts around the design I slightly remembered reading something similar about ancient greek architecture, at some point.  Long staircases being gently bowed to prevent them from looking convex.  The exact details aren’t coming back to me, but there is something about perspective and perception and the optical illusions that can occur with parallel lines.  I can’t say for sure if any of that was taken into consideration when potters designed pots like this, but whatever the reason is I’m convinced it’s the right way to make a rectangular pot.  It’s just got more pop!gg51

In addition to the bonsai show 2 bonus displays where also set up.  A painter working in traditional Japanese style and a professionally arranged ikebana display.  Great additions to the show!

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And that’s the show!  If you’re craving more you can dig into the archives and check out my Goman Goku coverage from last year.  

That’s all I’ve got for this one.  In fact, this will be my final blog post for 2014.  This year is over!

Thank you for reading and I’d like to sincerely send out a good old-fashioned “Happy Holidays!” to close out this post and this year.

Until next time…