New YiXing Koi Teapot
I’d been looking for a last piece in my XiYing teapot collection which I wanted to have for shu pu-erhs. Recently I saw that Living Social had a coupon at the Aroma Tea Shop, which is one of my favorite tea shops in San Francisco. They have MANY XiYings and it took me a little while to settle on this small pot that holds approximately 6 oz. of tea.
The pot has two carved koi on each side and one three dimensional koi on the top. I know a little bit about clay work and it seems that the koi on the side may have been carved out separately and then attached to the pot with “slip”, a clay sort of paste. The pot has the stamp of the maker on the bottom.
Below is another view of the pot with the lid off; you can see some of the details a bit better in this shot. The little fellow on the top has a hole in his mouth and if you put your finger over the fish’s mouth, the tea will not come out of the spout.
I did a bit of research today into the meaning and symbolism of the koi and came across this website that contains beautiful Chinese paintings. According to the site, the koi is a powerful symbol of strength and perseverance and I could use some of that!
Haymen at Aroma Tea Shop recommends soaking your XiYing for 30 minutes. I soaked mine in boiling water last night and decided to baptize it with the 2011 Phatty Cake by Mandala Tea. Haymen also showed me how to pour boiling water over the teapot before steeping the tea which helps the puerh to open up. Here’s a pic of my tea in a glass teacup after steeping with the cake — notice how I have already hacked a piece out of it. This is one of the tastiest shus in my collection right now.
The last photo here is for Garret, who is part owner of Mandala Tea and an aspiring Buddhist like myself. I really like the composition here of the tea cake, the cup and the sculpture (admittedly I bought it at CB2 but that’s a secret — shhhh!). I like do paint in watercolors and I might turn this photo into a painting someday if I can get the motivation together; I think it would be lovely.