Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Black beauty revisited

This is a black xishi pot made in the 70 to 80s era. I can't help but fall in love with this type of xishi pots. My favourite pot for brewing kungfu tea.

Recently I spotted some ceramic cups in the tea section of a departmental store. The cups are elegantly designed and made. I liked the cups so much that I bought 2 to go with my tea drinking sessions. Nowadays this type of ceramic wares are not cheap. A full set with pot, eight cups and other accessories may cost up to a thousand dollars. Why do they cost so much? The shop attendant told me that they are branded goods and every piece was hand-made and the highest quality was ensured and guaranteed by the pottery shop. I checked the cups and they were in perfect condition, no sign of any defect. Even the glaze was evenly applied. I guessed the pottery shop must have discarded the defective pieces and only the best ones were exported. I like the design of the cups, they are just nice to go with my xishi pots for tea drinking.

Ceramic cups bearing the shop's name at the base
I have another cup which I bought earlier from a tea-shop for a good price. It is of a similar pattern but is made of porcelain. These days I find that tea drinkers not only enjoy a nice cup of Chinese tea, they also like to drink the tea using nice looking cups. Some even boast of their fine pieces during tea drinking sessions with their friends. No wonder I spotted some cups at the same tea-shop selling for 70 dollars each.
I once watched a video upload regarding a lady in Beijing who brought along her best cup to attend her friends tea drinking party. Unfortunately her best cup lost to all her friends' cups during that tea party. She felt that she was humiliated as she was quite well known in the tea circle of friends (she was a supplier of tea ware). The next day, she went to the famous Longquen kiln (famous for a type of Song dynasty ware, the glaze is almost the same as the photo shown above) in search of her ideal cup for the next round of tea party to challenge her friends' cups. She managed to find a famous potter and order one of the design created by the potter. Unfortunately the cup did not turn out well after the firing process (defects were seen after it was removed from the furnace). Eventually she met another potter and managed to persuade him to part with one of his best cups. She brought the cup back to Beijing and showed it to her friends during the next round of tea drinking session. This time her cup really impressed all her friends and she finally won back some respect form her peers. This shows that in tea drinking, not only the pot is important, the cup used for tea drinking can also attract attention, lest you want criticism from your peers for using sub-standard cups in important functions/occasions.

After watching that video upload, I realize that there are potters outside Yixing who make a name for themselves in the tea ware business, ie the cups they made can become collectors' items.

A set of cups from Longquan kiln.

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