Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bonsai containers in Chennai, India

It seems that in India there is only one ceramic artist who makes bonsai pots. His name is B.R. Pandit and his studio is at Bhayandar, Maharashtra. In the bonsai community his pots are referred to as ‘Pandit pots’. These pots demonstrate sound craftsmanship and mostly inspired by more ornate Chinese examples. Chinese aesthetics probably appeal to the artist and bonsai growers due to cultural proximity to China. Some examples of Pandit pots are shown in the image below.

Another type of containers I saw used for bonsai is Jaipur Blue Pottery (see pictures below). They are low-fired pots made of white clay and decorated predominantly with cobalt and copper oxides. If someone made them in stoneware and added feet, they would make a beautiful native style of bonsai pots.

Most commonly bonsai and bonsai material are grown in terracotta pots. They are hand-made, unglazed, low-fired flower pots, which sometimes come as shallow planters without feet. They are very unpretentious and sometimes slightly crooked. Old terracotta pots develop a patina of dirt and algae and can look quite wabi sabi (see image below).

Of course, I should mention that a lot of bonsai in Chennai are grown in containers imported from China. Chennai, however, doesn’t have a shop where you can buy them. Bonsai pots are ordered from Bombay or Kerala and buyers have to bear the cost of brakeage during transportation. Apparently, they are transported on the roofs of passenger buses and the brakeage is quite high. As a result of all this, bonsai growers in Chennai have a limited choice of containers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I have a pottery studio in Lucknow.. and our speciality is handmade bonsai pots...we make both in ceramic as well as terracotta..
The size ranges from 6 inches to 36 inches. We have maintained a strict quality control and our products are much more superior in quality than Chinese pots.
We are looking for bulk buyers, so, for any queries please feel free to contact.
We can send our catalog and our latest price list on request.


Asit Banerjee