Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The original monk's hat

Monk's hat teapot is a classic design in the world of pots.

People recognize the monk's hat teapots made famous by the legendary teapot grandmaster Gu Jingzhou. This is due to the fact that the monk's hat teapots made by Gu fetched millions in auction houses. But do you know where he got his idea from when he made such teapots?

Gu's monk 's hat closely resembled the one made by Shi Dabin
Gu's modification of the monk's hat
The first potter who made the monk's hat teapot was not Gu himself. It was another great potter who lived during the Ming dynasty some 400 to 500 years ago. He was Shi Dabin, who learned the Yixing art from his father Shi Peng who in turn acquired the skills from Gong Chun, the fore-father of all potters. There is a monk's hat teapot made by Shi Dabin's on display in a museum in Hong Kong.

Did Shi Dabin creat this monk's hat shape himself? The answer is no.

There was already a monk's hat teapot in existence. But it was not made in Yixing purplish sand. The very first monk's hat pot was in fact made in porcelain clay and glazed in red. This piece of Ming dynasty antique can be seen in museum. It is a very rare piece of Ming dynasty antique. The legendary Shi Dabin could have imitated the Ming pot and created his own monk's hat teapot. Gu Jingzhou himself had mastery skills in creating the same teapot with perfection. His monk's hats were skillfully created and they looked perfect in whatever anger you view them. Hence his monk's hats are indeed very pricey. He even altered the lid of the teapot to show a shorter version of its features.

The original monk's hat teapot made in the Ming dynasty
I also have a monk's hat teapot made by a craftswoman. The shape is round instead of the tradition segmented shape.

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