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Shades of Yellow

In China, the colour yellow represents a phase of change, it represents the earth and the centre. Yellow has a positive significance and means fame, good luck and constant development.

And here's the issue with yellow: Would you plant one of your bonsai into such a pot ...


... or in one of such a gaudy yellow?



Probably rather not.


But people in the traditional Asian bonsai countries are doing that, knowing that these yellow glazes develop the most beautifully coloured patina.




And this is how beautiful a yellow glaze can look after it has been used and matured for about 30 – 50 years.



This is a mature, excellent patina. It is the same as with bonsai. It takes some decades until a young plant or a glaze reaches the stadium of a certain maturity.


Here are some nice examples.



The upper rim of this pot has turned almost black.


There's a wonderful tension between the yellow pot and the tree (Akebia quinata), height 65 cm, by Akio Kemeyama.

Here are some more examples.



Callicarpa japonica, height 16 cm, in a yellow pot of medium maturity.



A famous old pot.


Rhododendron indicum, height 47 cm. This yellow pot is still at the beginning of its maturation process, just as the following three examples.



Trident maple (Acer buergerianum), height 20 cm (8 in).



Crab apple (Malus sieboldii), width 37 cm (14 1/2 in).


Spindle tree (Euonymus japonica), height 11,5 cm (4 1/2 in).



With suiban it is the same as with bonsai pots. But they are even more difficult to find.



Old mature yellow suiban.



This one is old too, but hasn't been that much in use.


Peter Krebs


Photographs 6, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18 kindly provided by BONSAI ART.
Photograph 4 from the catalogue - BONSAI ART AUCTION - Japan
Photograph 3 by Eginhard Rösner
Photographs 1, 2 by Peter Krebs
Photographs 5, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20 from the bonsai pot archive of Peter Krebs.

Translation: Heike van Gunst

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