Saturday, March 22, 2014

Fang Yuan Brand Tea Ware

"Fang Yuan Pai",  which literally means square circle brand is considered a milestone period for Chinese tea ware.  This brand of tea ware was produced during the communist period, primarily around the 1960s through to the early 90s.

China during these 30 odd years, did export many its products overseas.  In my part of the world, it was common to purchase, inexpensively, China-made products.  Stationary, kitchenware, garments, canned and dried foods, medicine and even tea and tea ware were available for purchase. In fact, department stores called emporiums selling only China made products were opened for business.  Yue Hwa Department stores in Hong Kong and Singapore are still operating today.  For Singapore readers, there is also an old Chinese emporium (called Overseas Emporium) on the 1st floor of People's Park Complex in Chinatown.  The China made products were not considered expensive and were very popular with the locals.  

Tea and tea ware were one of the products exported by China.  "Sea Dyke" brand of oolong teas was one example. Their lao chong shui hsien was in high demand and is very popular even today (see link).  Porcelain and clay tea ware were also easily available.  These tea ware were actually used and there was no real value (no one thinks that they will be become collectibles and be expensive) in keeping such tea ware as an investment.  

Fang Yuan brand tea ware today are now famous and sought after by Chinese tea ware collectors.  As mentioned, this was a milestone period as it serves as a reference point of Chinese Yixing clay that was used during these 30 years.  This meant that when collectors are talking about yixing clay teapots made during these times, they will usually talk about Fang Yuan brand Yixing clay teapots.  These teapots when new came in its own paper box and a brand sticker is usually affixed to the side of the tea ware  I had purchased a couple of such teapots and I will talk about them in a later blog.

The 1st pix above shows a  European-styled teacup and plate and 2 tea caddies.  Note the white porcelain encased in the interior of the teacup and caddies.  The 3rd pix shows a 'trophy' shaped tea caddy while the 5th pix shows a peach-shape tea caddy with a bat perched on the top of the peach.  

I believed these tea ware I had purchased were made in the late 80s/early 90s.  The quality of the workmanship was a bit 'rough on the edges' but my collector friends told me they were made of pure yixing clay.  I am a proud owner of these tea ware.   

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