I'm sure many tea fans have tons of yixing teapots. Some are used frequently, some are just display items. I own few yixing, too. Some is good, some is not so good. But I remember the story of each one piece.
First of all - where can I get yixing? Since I never was in China or Taiwan, my only chances are local or internet vendors. Unfortunately, most pieces I can get in Slovakia is of very poor quality. And if I order online, there is a chance, that I will got something else, than I believed to get.
Now you have to know, that I’m in the position, when I have more yixing, than I can use. Well, I use nearly all of them, but some of those precious pieces of art see their use maybe once a month… And this is bad. I do not like them to just sit on the shelf. So I decided not to buy anymore of them.
Unfortunately, my greediness is probably much stronger than me. And when I saw this small piece (xiao pin) at Guang’s website, the urge to hold it in my hands was stronger than my decision not to buy more yixing.
Just check out this little guy. My first thought, when I saw him, was - he's just like a small, strong dwarf! If you saw Peter Jackson's Lord Of The Lirng, Gimpli as a yixing teapot would look just like this. Small, sturdy, radiating hidden power.
Also, if you check the photo above, you can see the high quality, solid zi sha that was used to make this teapot. Chocolate brown clay, with nice structure and solid feeling.
When I said solid feeling – check out this interesting article about how yixing is made. The idea of “slip casting” yixing is very strange to me. I believed that most of the yixing is hand made by underpaid Chinese craftsman. And now I see that most of it is only cast using moulds. It is horrific, but somehow not surprising fact.
Fortunately, if you check the inside of this teapot (click the picture to enlarge), you can see the “scars” the maker left while arranging the inside of the teapot. So this is at least partially hand-made. That also explains the nice feeling of the teapot.
I like this teapot. It has some flaws – it leaks a bit when pouring, it does not have built-in strainer. Maybe I will not use it frequently, but when I will drink some high-fired wu yi oolong, I will feel the spirit that teapot have.
Clay: zi sha
Spout: single holed
Seals: on bottom only
Year of making: around 2000
Tea: high-fired wu yi oolongs
PS: Is there someone, who can help me to translate the Chinese calligraphy on seals?