Saturday, 25 October 2014

I love pumpkin

A pumpkin is a gourd-like squash native to North America. It typically has a thick, orange or yellow shell, creased from the stem to the bottom, containing the seeds and pulp. Pumpkins are widely grown for commercial use, and are used both in food and recreation.

Pumpkins generally weigh 9–18 lbs (4–8 kg) with the largest (of the species C. maxima) capable of reaching a weight of over 75 lbs (34 kg). The pumpkin varies greatly in shape, ranging from oblate to oblong. The rind is smooth and usually lightly ribbed. Although pumpkins are usually orange or yellow, some fruits are dark green, pale green, orange-yellow, white, red and gray.

Pumpkins are very versatile in their uses for cooking. Most parts of the pumpkin are edible, including the fleshy shell, the seeds, the leaves, and even the flowers. In the United States and Canada, pumpkin is a popular Halloween and Thanksgiving staple. Homemade pumpkin purée can serve the same purpose.

When ripe, the pumpkin can be boiled, baked, steamed, or roasted. In its native North America, it is a very important, traditional part of the autumn harvest, eaten mashed and making its way into soups and purees. Often, it is made into pie, various kinds of which are a traditional staple of the Canadian and American Thanksgiving holidays. In Canada, Mexico, the United States, Europe and China, the seeds are often roasted and eaten as a snack.

Prof Pan's brown pumpkin set
Yixing potters, past and present, have created many teapot designs based on pumpkin. This shows the popularity of pumpkin among the potters to put some artistic forms  of pumpkin in the teapots they made. Of all the pumpkin teapots I have seen, I particularly like the one created by Prof Pan Chunfang of the Nanjing Academy of Art. Unlike other potters who like to make the pumpkin teapots with  very regular segments and a smooth texture, Prof Pan created a pumpkin teapot which is in a way distorted in shape and the texture of the skin is rather rough. This truly reflects pumpkin as it appears in its natural form. He also created four cups that come with the teapot and these cups are also irregular in shape with a rough texture. The pumpkin teapots set thus becomes Prof Pan's masterpieces and had won him international acclaim. He made the teapots using the finest of Yixing zisha and the teapot comes in two colours, brown and red zisha. If you take a closer look at the teapot, you would admire Prof Pan's talent, creativity and mastery of teapot making skills. No wonder he was seconded to the Nanjing Academy of Art to be a professor running design and art courses to craftsmen who want to upgrade their skills and innovation in teapot designs.
Prof Pan's red pumpkin set

Traditional pumpkin teapot

Prof Pan's exhibition flyer

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