Friday, April 26, 2013

Pear Shaped Zhuni • 梨形茶壶

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Over the years, I've developed a fondness for fruit-shaped Yixing teapots. Pear-shaped ones, especially, seem to catch my eye, with with their elegantly curved spouts and smooth contours.

There are a few at the teashop that I can't help but stare at every time I go in (which is often...) but they are all antique and the one my eye likes the best is $2000. I asked if there were any that were more affordable but was told not many artists still make the curved spouts anymore, so they're usually antique.

Eventually, I found one that didn't quite match the perfectly crafted antique ones but was still very nice for less than a tenth the price. The rough texture of the surface made me think it could be zhuni, and I was right. The odd thing about the pot is that it has no stamp but a poem carved into the bottom, "Creek under the moonlight," with the name of an old master who lived three-hundred years ago. The thing is, the pot is less than ten years old. So, it's sort of like having an eight year-old Stradivarius. But if it's even remotely comparable to a Stradivarius, then I'm not really concerned who made it!

It's 100ml, perfect for two gongfu cups, or one large cup, if I'm alone. The walls are slightly thick, making it nice for dark oolong. It's great for puer, too, but the opening is so narrow the tea has to be broken up quite small. The lid fits very nicely, allowing a very clean pour and the edges of the rim and lid are smooth and sharp. The top bead is perfectly shaped with nice proportion to the pot, he lower portion of the lid, that slides into the pot, is angled slightly inward, showing the artist's care for detail.

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