Small Yixing teapot

This tiny, fully functioning pear shaped Yixing teapot is a copy of one made in China in the mid-19th century and measures a mere  2-1/4″ high by  3-3/4″ wide. It is not a miniature teapot, as is evident from the tiny hole in lid knob which allows steam to escape. Unlike Western tea drinking, the Eastern method is to drink smaller quantities of tea more frequently throughout the day, which requires smaller teapots to be used

When the delicate handle broke in two places, three small gold cuffs were attached to reinforce the breaks and make the teapot function once again

The incised marks on the bottom read: “qie xi bei zhong tong meng chen” which roughly translates to “this small Meng Chen style pot will absorb the flavor of the tea”. Although I bought this piece from a London antiques dealer claiming it to be a genuine antique, a knowledgeable reader recently informed me that it was instead a well done copy of an earlier teapot. Please see his comment below for more information

Hundreds of Yixing teapots were discovered intact during the excavation of the Desaru shipwreck, a Chinese ship with a cargo of ceramics that sank in 1830. The shipwreck was discovered by fishermen in Malaysia in May 2001

Photo courtesy of Ming Wrecks

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2 Responses to “Small Yixing teapot”

  1. Eric says:

    The text on the bottom of the cup says, “qie xi bei zhong tong meng chen,” and translates roughly as “this small Meng Chen style pot will absorb the flavor of the tea.”. Meng Chen was a very famous potter and this pot was made after that style. It was almost certainly not used, and ZhuPing Hodge, who is a certified Chinese Tea Master and Tea Scholar, said she is almost certain that it is high quality, but not old at all, because the bottom of the pot is not oxidized at all. Even if a Yixing pot is not used (which this one has certainly NOT been), the natural oxidation of the iron-rich clay would have turned the color of the pot, and the bottom of the pot still looks newly carved. So, Zhuping believes this is a very high quality fake.

  2. Kyle Shen says:

    Dear Sir:

    I don’t know who did the translation but it is wrong. The original meaning is rather poetic. Roughly like, just drink the moon in the cup. Imagine you drink tea under the moonlight and the moon shines inside the tea in the cup.

    Secondly, this might not even a Yixing teapot but a well crafted Vintage San Tao teapot. It is rather easy to detect. Just turn over the lid and most likely you will a lighter color inside the lid.

    Best wishes,


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