Saturday, 26 July 2014

Square-n-Round labels

Here is a Yixing pots of the 80s. It bears a square and round sticker on the lid, an official mark for teapots made by the first ever state run Yixing factory of China. Prior to the introduction of this label, Yixing pots normally have the green stickers on the pots. The green stickers simply read Made in China.

The introduction of this square-n-round labels on teapots was to promote a brand that customers can recognize, a brand that associate with quality and perfection just like Patek Philippe, Levi's and Louis Vuitton. Consumers are willing to pay a premium for all these branded products. Why is the logo focused on the use of  a square interacting with a circle? In the world of teapots, all shapes revolve around the shape of round and square and a combination of these two fundamental shapes. It was said that Roundness doesn't restrict to one style and squareness doesn't mean only one form.

In the beginning, potters in Yixing took pride in this logo and supported the idea of hving a universal brand to endorse on their pots. Even senior craftsmasters such as Prof Pan CF even had the square-n-round logo engraved on the inside of the pots he made. My friend even owned of his pots with this trade mark engraved at the interior base of the pot.

However when art and crafts are concerned, brands don't actually sell. It is the name of the artists and the creators of those art pieces sell. The bigger the name, the bigger the price. As a result, square-n-round labels did not create an impact in the consumer market other than telling people the products were from state-run Yixing factory. Craftsmasters and renown potters continue to sell their products using their very own labels, their names and the fame that came along with these names.

As more and more potters go private and have their own kilns as well as market their own products, people soon forget that there is such brand known as the square-n-round labels. Even the factory that promoted the brand turned into a research institute, promoting the culture of the Yixing ware.

A green-label teapot

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