Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Bonsai containers in Vietnam

In Vietnam potted plants are omnipresent and during my brief visit in 2016 I scrutinised every flower pot in my way. The containers were made of concrete, ceramic and stone. It seems that concrete pots were most common. They are used for larger trees and miniature landscapes. Some were painted with bright colours and looked rather tawdry. The examples shown in the images below are somewhat more sophisticated.

Needless to say, there were lots of ceramic pots. Most of them looked tacky. Images below show examples which looked particularly native.

There was one type of ceramic containers that I really liked. Initially, I saw them in a couple of antique shops in Hanoi and then I came across of a small collection in a private bonsai garden in Hoi An where I took the photos shown below. I am not sure if these containers were locally produced or imported. They could be either antique or vintage. I am not sure of their age because the deterioration of the glaze can be attributed to the low temperature firing used in their production. If these pots are earthenware than it’s just a matter of few decades for the glazes to start peeling off. The actual decoration on these pots is very crude, but the glaze deterioration gives them this aged look and the ephemeral rustic quality akin to wabi-sabi.

Finally, I saw a small number of containers carved out of stone and when I looked though my photos found only one shown below.

This post is probably a very incomplete survey of containers used for bonsai in Vietnam, but that’s all I got.