Jan 1, 2014

blog sale - yixing teapots and some tea

Similar to the previous blog sales - 

If interested, please contact me at gingkoheight @ g m ail . com before January 14, 2014.  I will try to get all packages prepared before Jan. 20.

Shipping is $4 (tea only) or $7 (teapots) flat for US, shipping to be estimated for other countries.

Shipping could be combined with Life in Teacup orders. 

All prices are lower than market prices and not correlated with our web store prices. Some of the items may be offered in Life in Teacup web store in the future, and the prices will be higher.

1. Purple clay teapot, made by Yixing Factory #1, in 1992 or 1993, by Chen Huifen. $. There are 5 available for this blog sale. There will be some more available in future in our web store.

The volume is 80-85ml. It has single-hole strainer. The shape of spout is a type of fast and fluent pouring. In early 1990s, oolong was trendy in Korea (and puerh started getting trendy). So I would guess that's how this teapot shape was selected for the Ceramic Arts Festival.

I don't remember seeing this style in the Factory #1 catalogs (I only have a few incomplete versions that I plan to show in future blogs). It's probably modified from some gourd style teapots. I've been calling these teapot "mantou 馒头 (bun)" style, unofficially, but it does share some similarities with some mantou style teapots in history :-D

These teapots were custom order by some Korean tea merchant for the third Yixing Ceramic Arts Festival (which took place in 1993 1992 correction: it's 1992, not 1993). The clay and firing are great. Craftsmanship is pretty good - better than the average level of craftsmanship for regular styles (such as shui ping) in Factory #1 at that period, I think. Water seal is not good. Lid fit looks fine from the appearance. I've selected all these teapots that have relatively good lid fit and don't have major flaws.

I've found these teapots interesting because I think their current price is pretty good (and I believe they are more affordable now than future). Besides, I sort of like teapots made for special events. The bottom seal says "The Third Ceramic Arts Festival Souvenir" and there is a lovely Korean character. It seems one of the characters in Korean word "teapot" (not sure of it, I just did a google translation).

More pictures are available here. The stainless steel strainer showed in the Please doesn't come with each teapot. Please let me know if you need one and I will manage to send one along with the teapot. But if you are in a big city, it's possible to get better strainers than this one.

2. Black clay teapot. Same shape as the previous one, by the same author, from Yixing Factory #1 during the same period. There is one available, with some minor appearance flaws, no function flaws. $.

Volume is 100ml. Single-hole strainer. 

More photos can be seen here

The surface flaws include a little dent on the surface (could be seen in the above photo right in the front) due to "sand explosion" - a sand grain was melted and "exploded", leaving behind a tiny dent. Besides, there is some uneven color of the clay (especially on the lid, but overall not very obvious). This could be seen in other photos. The white color on the lid is not dust, but uneven color. Both flaws happen mostly when the clay is authentic and firing temperature is high (both are features of Factory #1). But after all they are flaws. We all prefer good clay and good firing, without flaws.

I wouldn't mind keeping this one for myself. Please let me know if you would prefer to get a relatively perfect teapot from the same batch, as I'm getting some more of these teapots.

I've found this teapot interesting because it's a "brother" of the previous teapot. This one was also made for export, but not specifically for the Ceramic Arts Festival. The bottom seal is the author's name "Huifeng studio".

It looks like the above #1 and #2 are made with the same shaper (the semi-manual yixing teapots have a type of iron shapers for the craftswoman to sculpt the teapot body and spout). Their shapes overall look highly similar. The purple clay teapot (#1) is slightly smaller than the black clay teapot (#2) in volume. But interestingly, their weights are almost exactly the same. So it seems the volume difference is due to the varied degrees of shrinkage of their clays.

3. Yixing "shibo" set. There is one available. $.

Volume is 120ml (usable volume, not volume to the rim). It's the best for large leaf tea (oolong, puerh with whole leaves, etc.), as small debris could escape under the lid.

More pictures are available here.

The clay texture is very good and very similar to this and this.

This type of tea set seems more and more popular in China these days. This one is my favorite of all "yixing shibos" that I've seen. I like it very much, but I'm not sure if it could get popular in America. In China, few tea drinkers saw shiboridashi before, hence this style looks very novel and unique. But many American tea drinkers have already owned shibos from Japan and Europe. I very much enjoy using shibo-ish and hobin-ish tea ware for various types of Chinese teas, such as this, this and this. As much as I like this set, it didn't hit me as a "novel" style.

What I like about this specific one is that it reflects a sense of humor from its creator. The bottom seal is "China, Yixing" made very similar to the seals on those Facotry #1 teapot. And there is a number stamped under the lid. As many of you know, some Factory #1 shui ping teapots have a number stamped under the lid (said to be the number of each QC worker), usually a single-digit number. However, the number stamped under the lid of this "shibo" is 88, same number on every teapot this person made and not a QC number. I didn't have to ask her why - 88 is a very good number in China, often seen as a number of fortune.

4. Yan cha set, 15g 2013 Shui Xian and 15g 2013 Rou Gui. There are 5 sets available for this blog sale. $ each set of 30g.

Since dry tea of most yan cha look similar, I will be lazy and omit taking pictures.

Both tea are high mountain tea from central Wuyi region (zheng yan 正岩). The Shui Xian is from trees planted in early 1970s. Both are the relatively heavy roast type, but not the "tasting like fire" kind of heavy roast.

 5. Liu Bao produced by Guang Wu 广梧 (this is the same company that produced Guang Ya 广雅 puerh tea). There are 5 packs available for this blog sale. $ each pack of 15g.

This is mainly for people who are curious about Liu Bao (and probably those who are interested in examining it under microscope). I don't think everybody will like it, although the tea looks really pretty for a fermented tea. "Pretty" including "golden flowers" on the tea leaves, so it may not even be pretty in everybody's eyes. The tea leaves have rudimentary tiny golden flowers (smaller than those found in fu brick and not as many, not sure if it's exactly the same species, very possibly it is).

The tea offered here is one of the three promotion products that Guang Wu issued this year, as this is the first year that Guang Wu Liu Bao has been in the market. All three promotion products are quite inexpensive (especially compared with other Guang Wu products and products of Guang Ya), yet they look very nice (I haven't drunk a lot of them yet, so most judgment so far is based on appearance). The tea offered here is #1 and 1st tier in the promotion series. I think these are truly promotion products as they are really good deals. This #1 was out of stock in most places in no time. For selfish reasons, I almost wish liu bao doesn't get too popular too soon, so that they will offer more promotion products like these ones in future years :-p

It looks like this picture. The photo is from one of the sales agents, and is on the #3 of the promotion series. The tea offered in the blog sale is #1 of the promotion series, with more refined leaves and more golden buds. But the overall style is similar. It's not a "sheng" liu bao like this one. It's not the commonly seen style of Liu Bao either. Instead, it's a light-fermented liu bao with relatively whole leaves. The producer claims the tea is made with the traditional "double steam" technique. But since this technique almost disappeared in the last several decades, many tea drinkers feel there isn't enough knowledge base to judge it. But it's an interesting tea anyway. (That being said, the tea still has a basement-like smell and ideally should be aired out for a while before use.)

Free stuff:

* Small porcelain cup (40-45ml)

* Yixing teacups of red clay, di cao qing or jiang po ni, limited to 1 cup per person. There are few cups of each type. Please let me know your preferred type. The di cao qing and jiang po ni are made of same clay type as used for some teapots at Life in Teacup web store (the firing outcome will be slightly different each time, due to the size and shape).

* tea ware wrapper, similar to this one:

* Yixing red tea - if you are interested in tasting the red tea from the hometown of teapots. This is the most popular "teapot-seasoning" tea in yixing.


Emmett said...

I had never seen that metal filter for the single hole Yixing, very interesting. Happy New Year!

Gingko said...

Emmett, happy new year to you too! I like the metal filter very much, and there are a few similar types of such filters. Without them, it's nearly impossible for me to use a single-hole strainer teapot ;-)

Anonymous said...

Ah, thanks for the information about the Korean-character seal. I have a teapot with a similar seal and have been wondering what on earth that strange symbol and the English letters are doing on an Yixing teapot seal.

Any idea what the letters stand for? Mine goes FACYGZT.

Gingko said...

Thank you for your input! This is very interesting! Could you post a link with photos of your teapot? I'm getting a couple of xi shi teapots that were from the 2nd festival of this series (1990) and has FACYGZT at the bottom. I was very much puzzled about this acronym too. My current teapot has FAGYGT and initially I thought it was the symbol of the company that ordered them. But now I don't know if there is some relation between these two acronyms.

Anonymous said...

Here are some not-very-well-taken photos. My teapot is from the second festival too. It's a small one, probably only about 75 ml.

Anonymous said...


Oops, forgot to include the link.

Gingko said...

Thanks! These festival teapots are so interesting! Those that I've bought and haven't arrived yet are black clay xi shi, and are supposed to be very similar to yours. I also notice there is a stamp at the bottom of the handle on your teapot. Is it something like 禪 (zen)? I forgot to mention it in the previous writing. I found it interesting that it's this character while usually at this position it would be a stamp of the author's name.
Thank you for sharing the photos!

Anonymous said...

You are most welcome!

The stamp below the handle on my teapot is too indistinct to be decipher.

I've taken a picture of the stamps on the lid. One of the words is again too indistinct and I can't tell what the other words are.


Gingko said...

I'm not 100% sure, but from the photo, the stamps look like 潘 and 来来. 潘来来 made some pretty good export teapots in 1980s and 1990s. I will see if my newly coming teapots are made by him as well :-D

Gingko said...

Yes! The teapots arrived. Mine are made by 潘来来, of exactly the same shape as yours, except that mine is made of black clay. This is great to know. Thanks! :-D

Anonymous said...

Wow, your eyes are so sharp, Gingko! I can't decipher the words even though the teapot is right in front of me.

What do you think it can be used to brew? I tried tieguanyin with mine, but it wasn't entirely satisfying probably because there's no space for the leaves to expand.

Gingko said...

I think tie guan yin could be good if you use less tea. The shape is quite good for puerh too if you like puerh.

My eyes are not that sharp :-p It's a familiar name so the vague shape of the characters reminded me of the name. Sometimes it's easier to see it on an enlarged photo than on the teapot itself :-D

Louisette said...

Wonderfull red the form,

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