Sunday, April 02, 2006
There are a lot of conversations on seasoned pots, old pots, new pots and long instructions on caring and using Yixing. A lot of information and detailed facts.... Maybe we should have more in-depth personal conversation on our own pots to start with? How do they behave, what do we use them for and how? How many broken-lided pots we have and the stories behind them? I would like to know what Yixing pot's fans and tea lovers use for their daily enjoyment. Hoping to learn from others' experiences, so we can improve the knowledge on these precious and mystic treasures we use daily.
This is my daily 500 ml. puerh pot. Made by a Chaozhou tea potter for the family 17/18 years ago. The old craftsman used 4 different types of ZiSha clay to made this pot: Lu Ni (Green), Zhu Ni (Red) which is the yellow, Zi (Purple) and Hong ni (Red). The coloring of pictorial images is not by dye, instead it is from different Zisha clay crafted by his hand and pressed onto the surface before firing. You can still see the finger prints on the wings of the chicks and on the red peony.
This style of pot is under the category of "Flower" pot. Flower style flourished and brought to collector's attention in the last 30 years by the living legend Master Jiang Rong.
Although this style of pottery began from or earlier than the Ming Dynasty, her influences on the new generation potters are undeniable.
I use it almost daily in the morning for my "morning puerh" for the past 8 years. Using loose cooked big leaves, l drink up 2 full pots (1 liter!) of tea before heading for the day and pour the last one out and cool it down for the evening. I did not follow much text book directions on cleaning and wiping it dry while it is still hot for the shine etc., or any of the master's "keeping" instructions. The only thing I do is cleaning out the leaves daily, using boiling hot water to cook the pot for 2 mins and pouring boiling water over it, until the clay sucks the surface dry then I will let the lid uncover and air-dry for the next use. This takes 3 mins max.
You can see the stain on the bevel of the lid and I don't have a problem with it. Since I broke my last daily big pot for a usage of almost 2 years, while I was wiping, cleaning and polishing every time after or during usage. Until one day I dropped the lid while laboring on rubbing the bottom to shine and cracked the lid and my heart.
I believe there are fine pots to be used on occasion for high-graded teas, but they are not comfortable pots to use. Not that they are badly made, but just the pressure of using something I am not familiar with, and cost an arm or leg. And if we do use them, and cause an accident, what can we do? Can we mend them? I have many pots that have broken lids and have been sitting on shelves since.... What do people do, professionally or domestically?