Posts Tagged ‘Yixing’

Yixing teapot with rabbit finial, c.1750

Sunday, December 16th, 2018

This unusual quadrangular form, brown stoneware Yixing teapot was made in China in the middle of the 18th century. It has a rabbit finial and measures approximately 5 inches high and 7 inches from handle to spout.

At some point in its early life, the original loop handle broke off and was replaced by an expertly made carved wood replacement. I am not sure if the silver spout was added at the same time as the handle, but it is also an early replacement, most likely done by a fine jeweler or silversmith.

I particularly like the rabbit finial, which has a missing foot. When I was young I was given a rabbit’s foot key chain. I was quite fond of it until I realized, much to my horror, that it was an actual rabbit’s foot! I do hope this little guy’s foot didn’t end up dangling from the end of a tiny keychain.

Yixing teapot with elaborate silver repairs, c.1700

Sunday, May 27th, 2018

This gorgeous rectangular red/brown Yixing pottery teapot was made in China, c.1700. It is decorated with 6 panels of appliqué decoration, including four-clawed dragons chasing flaming pearls amidst clouds. It measures 8 inches high, 7 inches wide, 3.75 inches deep.

Not only is the teapot itself stunning, but the elaborate replacement handle, lid and mounts are a knockout. After the original handle broke off, it was taken to a skilled silversmith who made a solid silver replacement stirrup-shaped handle with leaf mounts, along with a scalloped rim and base, spout, and a replacement lid with an ivory knob. I especially love the cutout heart at the end of the spout. The hallmark inside of the lid, W.F. over A.F. in a chamfered square, is for Fordham & Faulker (William Charles Fordham & Albert Faulkner), Orchard Works, Orchard Lane, Sheffield, UK. I have yet to research the hallmark but am looking forward to discovering the year the repair was done. Stay tuned.

I purchased this a few months ago from a dealer in the UK who said it was once in the private collection of British actress Rita Tushingham (Dr. Zhivago, etc.) Thanks, Rita for having such exquisite taste!

This teapot of similar form suggests what the original handle on mine might have looked like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Woolley & Wallis

“Not a make-do” Yixing teapot, c.1890

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

I purchased this little teapot thinking it was an example of Chinese Yixing ware with an elaborate early repair. It measures 7-1/2″ from spout to handle and is about 4″ high to top of finial. The shape appears to be typically Yixing but the brass lid, spout and horizontal strap, as well as the unusual incised mark on the underside, made me a bit suspicious. Now I feel the teapot dates from the latter part of the 19th century and was made in China for export to the Middle East, and that the mark on the base is Arabic. The brass spout and lid were most likely a part of the original design to help prolong the life of the teapot and not added to replace broken or missing parts. Learning to know the difference between a piece with an inventive repair and a piece that was designed with metal mounts can be a valuable, though sometimes a costly, lesson. Luckily, I did not pay very much for this “not-a-make-do” teapot.

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Magnificent Yixing teapot c.1700

Sunday, May 26th, 2013

This is one of my favorite and, as it turns out, one of the rarest pieces I have in my collection. I purchased it last fall at auction where it was among a small but impressive collection of early Yixing teapots, most with silver mounts.  In total, over a dozen items were being offered; at least half were museum quality. I ended up with 2 teapots, each with multiple replacements, and I paid dearly for them. I only wish I had been able to forgo my monthly mortgage payment and purchase the entire lot so I could keep the assembled collection intact. But at least I acquired this breathtaking teapot, which in my opinion is the best of the lot, along with another rare gem, which I will post at a later date.

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Made in China during the Kangxi period (1662-1722), this Yixing teapot of hexagonal form is decorated with six relief molded panel designs on a thunder pattern ground and depicts spear and sword carrying warriors on horseback. The matching lid with a beautifully carved Buddhist lion finial has a thunder pattern ground. The teapot stands 4.5 inches high. The intricate details make this piece special, but the exquisite silver mounts and carved wood handle make this piece magnificent.

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When the original handle and spout broke off sometime in the first part of the 18th century, a silversmith of the highest level created these outstanding repairs and replacements. The wood handle is carved with what appears to be a scrolled leaf on top and a tiny grotesque head at the bottom, attached to the body using chased silver mounts. The spout is repaired with silver mounts at the base and at the tip, both handsomely engraved.

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There is a small hole at the top of the body near the spout, which I have seen on other Yixing teapots. Some of these other examples have a small silver mount covering the hole. Does anyone know if this is to allow steam to escape or why on some pieces the hole is covered?

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This teapot with similar form shows what the original loop handle would have looked like on my teapot. For more information, please take a look at other Yixing teapots I have previously posted to see a variety of forms and styles and to learn more about Yixing clay and its unique qualities.

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Photo courtesy of Christie’s

Small Yixing teapot

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

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

Yixing teapot, c.1830

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

This condensed globular form Chinese teapot was made from purple granular “zisha” clay (containing mica, quartz and iron) and found only in Yixing (pronounced ee-shing), in the east coast province of Jiangsu. Due to its unique self seasoning capabilities, after many years of use you can brew tea just by pouring boiling water into an empty pot

A metalsmith created a new lid out of brass after the original one broke or was lost. I love the simple hand-hammered form and delicately curled knob. Teapot measures 4″ high, 8″ wide

Chinese character maker’s marks are incised on the bottom. Please excuse me if I have shown the marks upside down

This example has its original lid, which is amazing, as it was recovered from the 1840 Desaru shipwreck, discovered in May 2001

Photos courtesy of Nanhai Marine Archaeology

Chinese Yixing cream jug, c.1790

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Simple yet elegant Chinese barrel form jug dates from the late 1700’s, stands 3-1/4″ high.

The broken applied handle is held back in place with engraved silver cuff repairs.

A silver band with decorated scalloped edge is clipped on to mask the damaged rim.

Wire, rather than rivets, was used to secure the broken handle to the jug

There is a maker’s mark on the bottom. Apologies if I have not shown it right side up.

Chinese Yixing teapot, c.1750

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

This Yixing (pronounced ee-shing) pottery teapot with paneled body and bracket base is made of purple clay and was meant for use with black and oolong teas.

Teapot measures 5-1/2″ high, 8-1/2″ wide.

Lid features a wonderfully detailed dog finial with movable pierced marble ball.

Damaged spout was replaced by this beautifully crafted silver replacement.

This Copeland Spode teapot with a similar shape was made in England, c.1879.

Photo courtesy of Ruby Lane