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Concubine Yixing Teapot

 

Daoba Xishi is a classic Yixing teapot in which the curve of the lid is continuous with that of the body. Its round form reminds the Chinese of the feminine shapes of a famous royal concubine, Xishi.

Besides the curvaceous form, the teapot’s distinctive characteristics are its reverse handle (daoba)—thinner on the top and thicker on the bottom—and its short spout.

Now very popular among tea enthusiasts, this shape was originally designed to draw in water, rather than pour tea: by submerging the entire vessel, held by its reverse handle, the spout makes an excellent inlet, and these elements remain as signs of its former purpose.

 

The clay

The Concubine teapot is made of the precious Lao Zhuni (老朱泥) clay, a rare red ore extracted from the now closed mine in Xiaomeiyao (小煤窑), among the most famous site for Yixing ore extraction.

This Zhuni is particularly rare because the clay has been aged for more than a decade, stored at the entrance of the mine, before it has been shaped into a teapot and fired. The suffix "lao" ("old" in Mandarin) refers to the long storage.

 

Which teas are most suitable for this teapot?

Thanks to its extremely dense Zhuni clay, this Yixing teapot is almost as neutral as porcelain, pairing well with any of several tea categories, while retaining its elegant, royal beauty.

Zhuni is denser than most other Yixing clays, as it shrinks about 50% more than standard red clay (hongni, 红泥) when hardened in the kiln. Thanks to the smaller pores, it neither alters nor smoothens the aroma of the tea. It is therefore best suited to delicate and fragrant teas, like floral Tieguanyin and fresh white teas, and for those tea lovers that prefer a neutral Yixing, one which doesn't affect the taste of the tea.

 

Why do I need a Yixing teapot?

The material and the shape of Yixing teapots are ideal for brewing tea. They bring out the tea flavour like no other tea vessel. Hand-made Yixing teapots are also valuable handicrafts sought after by collectors. Their value raises with time, usage, and artist popularity.

Yixing teapots are made of a rare and depleting clay mined in the mountains near Yixing, a city in the Jiangsu province. The high density yet porous nature of the clay absorbs the smell of the tea brewed in it. For this reason, it is advised to use the pot with only one kind of tea (for instance with black teas or green teas). Bring your tea to the next level; allow yourself an authentic Yixing teapot.

  • MATERIAL:  Lao Zhuni, 老朱泥 (lit. Old Vermilion Mud)
  • MINE:  Xiaomeiyao, 小煤窑
  • SHAPE:  xiao daoba xishi, 小倒把西 (small inverted Xishi)
  • CAPACITY:  115 ml
  • HEIGHT:  6 cm
  • WIDTH:  7x10 cm

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