Friday, 6 November 2015

Tea containers

I like puerh tea. And also like tea accessories, the things you need to brew a nice cup of tea.

Apart from teapots, tea cups and other utensils, I also like to collect different types of tea containers. I like to admire my tea accessories while brewing my cups of puerh tea.

Recently, I bought some tea containers and a blue-n-white vase that can double up as a container for tea. The first is a porcelain tea container made in 1949, the year The Nationalist China under Chiang Kaishek fell to the communist  China under China Mao. This is a blu-n-white piece with painting of prawns swimming in search for food.

The second one is also a porcelain tea container made during the Qing dynasty. At the bottom one can see inscription of such words as for the use in the Imperial Kitchen of the Qing court. Incidentally the words on the top of the container indicated the Chinese characters Puerh Tea. If you shake it, you can hear the rattling sound of tea leaves inside. I was told that the tea must have been stored inside for a very long time. You may ask, why not open the lid and take a good look of real vintage tea (from Qing dynasty, definitely a hundred years old). Or perhaps make a brew and enjoy for yourself what the Emperors used to drink in those good old days at the palace. I surely want to do that but I cannot. For a simple reason, the lid was closed so tight that it was impossible to open it. Unless you want to risk breaking it. Anyway I got it for a song due to this problem. I told myself, even if I were to break it, the value of the tea inside would have surpassed what I have paid for the container. Even tough I like to drink vintage puerh, I did not break the container for I really like it, a lovely piece of art and also piece of history (from Qing dynasty). Maybe someday I will meet someone who has the know-how to open it, of course without breaking it. Then I will have both the antique container and some equally antique puerh tea.

The lid is not level, due to tight fit.

The third one is a celedon ware, a tea container in a greenish glaze. I do not know its age but I guess it cold have been made in the 1980s or earlier. This container is ideal for putting tea leaves as there is a cork that can close it tightly to seal the fragrance of tea inside. Obviously mature puerh need to kept in this type of container to protect it from the harmful environment.

The last one looks like a vase but it is not a vase, It has a big opening or mouth and an equally big lid. The shop owner told me it is from the Qing dynasty, could well be early era of the dynasty due to the glossy state of the glaze and the quality of the painting on it. With a magnifying glass, I could see tiny bubbles and the blue-n-white glaze is beneath, not above the glaze (fired in kiln instead of electric furnace). This a huge container, if I may say so, to put my tea leaves inside since it has a lid. May be this is good place to age my puerh for a couple of year before it turns mellow.

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