Thursday, April 11, 2013
"Yi Tiao Long" - Dragon teapots
Produced in the 1980s, this is the 12 teapot dragon set known as 'Yi Tiao Long' - literally meaning one whole dragon. These teapots were produced in China and came in either red or black clay. I only have the 'black clay' version ones.
This 12 teapot set is interesting in that this 12 teapot set came in sizes from small to large. Smallest size is about 20-25ml while the largest teapot can hold about 200ml of tea. No.....the set is not made of of 12 different size teapots but I could detect (by just looking) about 8-9 different sized teapots in a each set - meaning there are a few duplicate sized teapots in each set. (hehe....I have a few sets).
And.....the teapots only came in one design. Traditionally called 'shui ping hu', which literally means water container or pot, this design was popular back then and even today. This design is very visually appealing but I would like to warn my readers that such teapot design can be quite delicate to maintain as a tiny knock on the spout of a 'shui ping hu' teapot can easily caused a chip to the mouth of the spout. Last 2 pix shows the chop marks 'Zhong Guo Yi Xing' - translated as China Yixing. All the pix shown above are the dragon teapots which are unused and 'new' in box.
I had also observed that the quality of the teapot in general was good. Let me explain. For Chinese tea drinkers who use teapots for their brewing, buying and using a teapot is very important. Chinese teapot collectors are even more particular, paying attention to things like straight line alignment of the teapot from handle to spout (if you look at the teapot from a top view), the fitting of the teapot cover and the overall finish. This 'Yi Tiao Long' teapot set is generally acceptable but I did observed that this teapot set does not have that 'collectible' finish of new teapots today. It is slightly more rough in the finish, a less refined feel. My guess is that these dragon teapot sets were manufactured and sold to the tea drinker for tea brewing in the 1980s, where teapot collection as a hobby was not the rage then.
The highlight of this "Yi Tiao Long' teapot set is the clay. As I only own the black clay versions, I found that this black clay was very pretty, in that the teapot develops a beautiful sheen after a few sessions of brewing. I had also noticed that the teapot literally sparkle, like there were bits of diamonds in the clay (yes...I wish), but I was told these were minerals that were found in the black clay. Holding this teapot under a light..... the 'diamonds' on the teapot.....a happy sparkling exercise .
Time to season a teapot.