As this is a section of tea with deep history, specific materials and methods the choosing of a teapot can feel overwhelming. I felt that just deciding to start was better than getting lost in the details completely. So I am learning as I go and sharing that experience with you. Join me down the rabbit hole, luvvies!
I ordered my first Yixing teapot from a Chinese vendor online, but I admit that I am not familiar with the artist’s stamp (which appears on the bottom of the teapot) nor have I been able to verify its authenticity. As I understand it clays in modern Yixing teapots are often mixed, called Pingni, blending natural clays (Yixing earth clay and zisha clay) and even artificial colors. I understand that some pots touted as Yixing have very little Yixing clay in the mix and may even include lead. I suggest that you do your research if that concerns you and be as informed a consumer as you can be if you decide to engage in this aspect of tea culture. Some say price is an indicating factor and the range is wide. I’ve seen these teapots everywhere from $10 to thousands for vintage ones or those from famous artists. I even saw some being sold online that were from a discovered shipwreck dating back to the 1800s. It is up to you how much you wish to spend of course and where you wish to purchase. If you have a local tea shop that sells Yixing teapots you may be able to access more information on the pots they sell prior to purchase. I stopped by Wing Hop Fung recently. They have displays of Yixing teapots with placards including details on some of the artists. The placards were entirely in Chinese though so you may need to bring a Mandarin-reading friend with you on your Yixing teapot shopping trip if you, like me, cannot read Chinese.
A Yixing teapot can be machine made, partially handmade (meaning pre-made pieces are put together by hand) or fully made by hand. I found a video online of a well-respected Yixing teapot artist making a teapot from start to finish – it was detailed and impressive. I have seen simple yixing teapots with a lovely smoothness to their finish, ones with carvings, reliefs and ones with animal shapes like my dragon. There is even a sucking teapot where the drinker wraps their hand around the pot and sucks the tea from the spout rather than pouring it out.
I encourage you to check your local tea shops, trusted online vendors or even just find a teapot that makes you smile when you look upon it and begin this satisfying journey. I look forward to sharing more posts on Yixing as my experience unfolds. Check out my first post on Yixing for curing and basic info and feel free to share it and share your Yixing experience with us on Facebook and Twitter.
Note: The non-Tea Deviant links in this post are not affiliate links and this is not a sponsored post. These links are included because I feel they support the further understanding and exploration of the subject in this case.