Monday, 5 August 2013

Teapot decorated with fans

Alans Museum has an old teapot acquired many years ago. It has many fans crafted at the upper region of the teapot body. The teapot was made by a certain potter name Dai using zisha of a high quality. The use of fans as an object to decorate teapot is rarely seen in other teapot designs. The only ancient story where fan become an important plot of a story was the fan used by a certain princess whose husband was the notorious demon, King of the Cows, in the story Journey to the West featuring the Tang dynasty Monk and the Monkey King. In the story, the Monkey King wanted to borrow this fan to put out the fires in the North so that the Monk could proceed to the west to bring back the scriptures to China. But there was a problem. The fan belong to a wicked princess (a demon herself) and her husband was also a demon whose power and tricks were comparable to that of the Monkey King. Moreover the King of the Cow wanted to eat the flesh of the Monk to gain longevity. This is a classic story in the Journey to the West where the Monkey King defeated the King of the cows and took the fan from his wife to put out the fires. This paved the way for the Monk to continue his journey to the West (India) and eventually brought back the scriptures to China.

The design of this teapot seems to borrow the theme from this story as the fan resembled the one used by the Monkey King to put out the fires. Whether the story was properly told or not, the teapot remains a prize item the museum's collection as it is professionally made using top quality zisha clay.
Teapot decorated with fans

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