This is my 60’s Zhu Ni Ming Zhi Zhai Pear-shaped Xia Pin (Small) Yixing Teapot. It’s a really long name for such a short pot.
I got it a year or so ago from Guang. When I opened the parcel, the pot was cleaned with no tea stains. Now I use this yixing quite often with big leaf raw pu-erh, so today the pot is seasoned quite well. On these pictures I want to demonstrate, how it changed over the time and why I like it so much.
But first, the teapot facts
Clay: sanded zhu ni
Spout: single holed
Bottom seal: Ming Zhi Zhai. "Zhai" means a scholar's study room. "Ming Zhi" means "to reveal, to make clear my aspiration/ambition/will", so together it could mean "I Find My Ambition In The Study Room"
Year of making: 60's
Tea: young sheng
Use: quite often, at least once a week
It’s a lovely pear-shaped teapot, with few limitations. Because of single hole spout I use it with young raw pu-erh with bigger whole leaves, because the teapot do not have strainer and I do not use a separate strainer. Too broken pu-erh, like the samples leave too much mess in my teacup. So this teapot is dedicated to better quality pu-erh only!
In these pictures you can see how the teapot changed over the last year. The hole in bottom part of teapot show the original clay – since I use a tea tray the teapot does not stand in tea, so the bottom remains always dry. I do not want to season my pots in artificial ways, so there will be probably always be visible the original clay.
Please click the picture with bottom seal; you will see the big difference in look of seasoned clay and the look of unseasoned one. The pictures were not altered or color enhanced in any way, they were taken under natural sunlight.
The oils in tea gave my teapot a very shiny look; they enhance the original color of teapot making it bright orange. Also, the sanded zhu ni clay shows a very interesting texture. And the pot is shiny! Just look at this picture.
Even if it does not look like original zhu ni clay because of sand, it still possesses it’s qualities but the durability is greatly increased. I had once a true zhu ni teapot but it cracked when I was careless for a moment and I poured too hot water into it. That moment I felt like my heart cracked a bit too.
I believe that most important qualities of teapot are:
- clay quality
- esthetic value
The clay of this teapot is good, solid with high-pitched knocking sound. The usability is great too – the lid fits tight and well, the pot pours swift with beautiful flow. And the beauty of this simple teapot is hidden in its details – in the lid, the handle, the spout.