February 24, 2010

Hot or not?

Today was a great day--two tea packages arrived, one from Hou De and one from Jing Tea Shop. Packages from China are always nerve wracking, and I usually spend several days expectantly looking out the window for the postman before the package is actually delivered. This one didn't arrive as quickly as some, but today my wait was mercifully cut short.

There are a few items worth mentioning between the two boxes, but I'll start with this little miscreant. After my last delightful Jing Tea Shop purchase, not only did I shrug off the vestiges of my "too cool for more teapots" attitude, it seems my mental disorder was only exacerbated. I asked SEb at Jing if he could find me a decent duanni pot, and this is what he came up with, along with a nice little story:
Yesterday, I went to visit a good friend who is a Yixing national craft master and I found that he has made a xiao pin of one of his latest series of 3 teapots for which he was recognized, they even printed stamps with them. It is a 100ml, made of good duan ni, pours really well and has very nice details. It will be good for black tea, especially cooked pu erh.
I almost always go for traditional, unadorned pot shapes, and it's been quite a while since I've had a bamboo pot in the collection. At first look, I really wasn't sure what to make of it--the leaf details, spout and handle are familiar from other bamboo pots, but the body shape is totally out there--the large body section resembles a separate pot that is tilted backward (in the picture below you can kind of see that the weird outside shape is totally evidenced on the inner surface as well).

Now that the pot is in-hand, I'm still not sure what I think about the aesthetics. The clay is nice and tender, though, and rather high-fired as well, so I don't doubt it'll make some tasty tea. I'm also excited to see how the bright yellow clay seasons--in just a month's time my two newer pots have shown dramatic changes from seasoning, and this one's probably even more porous. I've shown pictures of the pot to a number of tea-drinking and non-tea-drinking friends and opinions have been split on the imperfect shape--probably the best reaction was from my girlfriend. I don't remember the exact phrasing, but the word "poop" was a key descriptor.

So, I'd like to propose a simple survey on the aesthetics of this pot--hot or not?


Bret said...

Wow, just wow! I love the clay but as far as asthetic's, I,m not sure. My first impression is kinda "good grief" but this could be one of those things that grows on you with time and use. I,m not sure I would buy it but what's important is what you think, what do you think of it?

Maitre_Tea said...

Really, it's only 100 ml? Simply amazing...it's both functional and beautiful. My "beef" with these kind of artistic pots it that they're often too large to be functional, because larger pots means larger surface area to be creative. It looks like the pot (especially the spout) is ready to "leap" off its perch...

*must resist the call of tea-ware*

I find myself torn between investing in tea (particularly puerh) or tea-ware. I think as of now puerh is winning, but for you it seems the opposite.

Simply marvelous, this pot is

Zero the Hero said...

Gentlemen! Thank you for your opinions--every vote counts! *Update* After returning home, the lady of the house upon spying the new teapot did exclaim, "Ewww, it DOES look like a shit!" OK, ALMOST every vote counts.

Bret, I liked it enough to buy it, and now after handling it I'm prepared to say I'm happy with my purchase. Smooth pour, and the body shape is really quite ergonomic. Even though it's a static object, this pot has a real "motion" to its appearance. My only quibble is that I could do without all of the leaves and extras on the surface.

Maitre_Tea, as I understand from SEb, this is actually a xiao pin version of the artist's original piece, which probably was a lot larger because of the new design etc.--good spot. I've stocked up on maybe 2/3 of the aged pu-erh available that interests me right now, so a few teaware purchases won't hurt (I think in the long run tea is higher on my list too). I think I'm ready to admit being a collector as well as just a user of teapots.

David said...

I have to admit I did laugh a lot when reading your girlfriend's comment.

I won't answer your question but ask you why you did feel the urge to ask if people think if it's hot or not, and not present it as your new *beautiful* teapot.

The first shrink who will be specializing in "teaware addicts" will be rich...


Anonymous said...

I live in South Florida. I am familiar with bamboo. I think the craftsman captured the essence of the subject. Water it frequently.

Anonymous said...

Uhhhh....well....sorry Zero. I have to admit this is the first of your pots that I can't claim much desire for. I will say it is unique but not quite my taste.

Maitre_Tea said...

"...two tea packages arrived, one from Hou De..."

wait, if this is another pot we're talking about, are you the mysterious fellow who snatched up that Hong Ni pot even before I had time to even consider it?

you've foiled me once again, Zero

*shakes fist*

seriously though, I'm glad you got it...I seriously don't have the budget or actual *need* for it now

Zero the Hero said...

I'm flattered--this post has encouraged a few new commentators. Thanks for your feedback everyone.

David--I was mostly inspired by my non-tea friends' divided reactions to the pot's shape, so I thought I'd get a good sampling from the online tea folks to fuel the debate. If I label the teapot as beautiful, I might be suppressing the feedback of those who disagree.

Which brings me to TokyoB--No offense taken, considering the pot's odd shape. It's actually a bit of a relief to not feel like I've snatched a pot away from another potential loving owner for once.

Which brings me to Maitre_Tea...for once, I claim innocence! Teapot yes, hong ni no, so take a guess...The 14-hole spout and pigeon beak spout are certainly different, but that pot's overall appearance didn't do it for me. Also, for some reason I think full sunlight makes for good zhuni photos but not for hong ni like this--I'll bet this pot looks better in less bright daylight, or at least with a bit of patina. Now the question is, who is your secret adversary?!?

Maitre_Tea said...

I like how you're able to connect all everybody's comments together somehow. I think that there are definitely more tea drinkers/collectors out there than I thought, but they probably stay quiet both in the tea blogosphere and online tea community.

by the way, if you decide to order some of those 90s Big Leaf cakes from Skip4Tea, let me know. I might be interested in ordering some.

Matej said...

I'm sorry, but I do not like the shape of the pot. Looks confused, new, traditional all in one pot. Too much for one pot to handle.

But I hope it brews great tasty tea. That's the primary role for a teapot, isn't it?

Kind regards,