Thursday, 24 July 2014

A flat round pot

This a pot I collected in the 80s. I bought a total of ten pots from an importer. It is made in the 1st factory in Yixing during that time. As the demand of Yixing teapots was not that high during the 80s, the market was also small, mainly in the South East Asia region. Later years as the demand of Yixing ware increased, more and more factories were set up to meet demand.

Today, most of the teapot makers set up their own private kilns and become bosses. The production of teapots falls into private hands. With stiff competition from private kilns, most of the Yixing factories were forced to close down. The bigger factories then become training and research institutes. This is to make sure that younger generation potters can be groomed in this trade and the Yixing tradition can e passed down.

With over 20 thousands potters and numerous private kilns in Yixing, the teapot business is highly competitive. In this business, the status of the potter is the most important factor to measure the success of a potter. A few potters with the title of grandmaster are the most successful ones, this is follow by senior craftmasters, craftmasters, assistant craftsmaster and then technical staff. Potters without any title find it hard to market their teapots at a premium price. Since most vendors will offer very low price for their teapots. Some potters will have to mass produce their teapots and sell at a lower price and hope that profitability can be sustained through quantities (meaning sell more). Others will have to make imitation teapots (pots bearing other potters' names) to survive or even make a fortune. This explains why today there are so many imitation teapots that flood the market. What makes it worst is that assistant craftsmasters will fake craftmasters's work and craftsmasters will fake grandmasters' work, all for the sake of making more money.

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