This is the archetypal charcoal stove (炭爐 Tàn lú) used to boil water for tea in the Chaozhou Gong Fu Cha. Though small kettle-stove outfits like this have historically been associated with tea culture throughout China, their use has survived into the 21st century in the southeastern city of Chaozhou in Guangdong Province. This set is small, optimized to save fuel and boil a small amount of water (~425ml) quickly to avoid repeated reboilings, which exhausts the water.
Charcoal is loaded into the top chamber of the stove, which features a ceramic grate to allow full airflow to the coals. Once they're fully lit, the kettle, which is called a Sand Pot (沙壺 Shā hú) is filled and placed on top to boil. The unglazed clay is said to impart a distinctive softness and sweetness to the water; and the slow, gentle heating accomplished by charcoal is also said to have an effect. The stove is traditionally filled with a mixture of Longan wood and olive pit charcoal. Small metal chopsticks, also included, are used to move the hot coals. Metal chopsticks, longan and olive pit charcoal included.
The kettles are handthrown and all differ slightly. The sets are available in Chaozhou Hongni (red clay) and Baini (white clay).
kettles: ~425 ml