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Enjoyment of Art

Chinese art is among the most outstanding art traditions in the world. It has been collected and reproduced for centuries in the western countries. People have been interested in Chinese art for a very long time, but few have tried to unterstand the true contents of it. Chinese works of art have been appreciated and collected, but the intentions of the Chinese artists are very difficult to translate into our language.




It is a kind of symbolic language that has developed specially in China. To understand it you would have to learn all about Chinese life. For centuries very hard conditions have determined the every day life of people from a day labourer or farmer to a senior official. Art thus became a way to express the great importance of harmony and peace during those hard times.




It would be presumptious to discuss the subtle Chinese art feeling with just a few sentences, and I also lack the background knowledge for this. Nevertheless I would like to try a small attempt at getting a feeling for this kind of art. How strong the wish for harmony must have inspired the Chinese artists becomes apparent in the opulent decoration of even trivial objects of daily use like planters or bonsai pots. Houses, bridges and boats are embedded in lush spring nature scenes. Integrated in this eternal “Tao” is the human being with its inner and outer contentment.




This small pot might be mistaken for a porcelain pot at first sight, but it really is a stoneware pot. The size of the pot is: height 15 cm, width 22 cm, depth 22 cm (6 x 8.5 x 8.5 in). It was probably made in IXING (red IXING clay). Since only few pots were glazed and painted in IXING, this is surely a rarity.




In the bonsai tradition the Chinese way has lead to an independent Japanese way. The western world nearly exclusively uses the Japanese examples. It is difficult for us to understand Chinese art. It is interesting that no great Japanese or western style has developed in the art of bonsai pots. Nearly all pot shapes are of Chinese origin.


Peter Krebs


Photographs: Bernd Braun


Pot from the collection of Paul Lesniewicz

Translation: Heike van Gunst

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