This massive gaiwan is a remarkable piece of teaware, and feels at home on both the gongfu table and on display. A classic brown-speckled-white interior bears a spiralling indentation, making the the tea within a swirling vortex from which flavour can emerge, while the domed lid traps aroma for smelling. In contrast, the exterior is darkly mottled, somehow suggesting both ancient dignity and modern sleekness. Perhaps most notably, the saucer here is not content to be a flat afterthought, but becomes the center of attention, elevating the large gaiwan further over its tall foot, matching its swirled pattern, and bearing curled flares in trilateral symmetry, reminiscent of water lily leaves.
The gaiwan is available in two variants, the complete 3-piece set and one without the saucer, for those seeking a more minimalist approach. As they are unique, handmade works, there is noticeable variation among individual pieces, and the gaiwan you receive may look different than the one pictured. The same artist also produced the Artisanal Cup and Artisanal Pitcher, all three of which pair nicely together.
HOW WERE GAIWAN, PITCHER, AND CUP MADE?
During one of our tea journeys, in the 'Porcelain Capital' of Jingdezhen, we discovered Liu Shisan, a young and emerging ceramicist, and admired the rough, expressive style of his work. The Artisanal Gaiwan, Pitcher, and Cup were all commissioned by Nannuoshan, and we additionally asked the artist to film himself while custom-making our teaware:
Why do I need a gaiwan?
The gaiwan is the most common tea vessel in China. It comprises three pieces: a thin-walled, handle-less cup, a saucer and a lid. The cup is given a flared lip to hold it without burning one’s fingers.
According to custom, you should brew only the precise quantity of tea that you need to serve you and your guests. Several infusions follow; only freshly brewed tea is dispensed in the cups. This procedure guarantees best results.
Unlike Yixing teapots, the gaiwan does not retain odors. So you can brew different kind of tea in the same gaiwan.
Usage: steep the leaves in the gaiwan and pour the brewed tea into a second pot for serving. Use a strainer if necessary. Repeat several times refilling the gaiwan.
- ARTIST: Liu Shisan
- MATERIAL: Stoneware
- CAPACITY: 150 - 200 ml (under the lid)
- HEIGHT: ca. ~9 cm (cup only)
- DIAMETER: ~10 cm