Possibly my favorite gaiwan from this most recent batch of Dai tea wares by the Liang Tu Studio, this hand-made, one-of-a-kind gaiwan is thrown from a gray-brown Dai clay and simply painted with dark brown Dai clay slip. It has a unique, rounded shape that sets it apart from its siblings, and a very organic, asymmetrical design of raindrops and concentric amorphous shapes that could be interpreted as mountains or as ripples on the surface of water made by the raindrops. They also represent traditional abstract representations of Reishi mushroom in Chinese art, or big chunky fingerprints. The pattern is featured radially on the lid and is reflected in the exterior of the bowl, with the concentric circles extending beautifully from the foot up the rounded sides. Viewed from the foot up, the circles resemble rounded flower petals radiating from the bottom of the gaiwan. The whole piece is lightly glazed inside and out with a clear glaze that seals the pores without interrupting the natural texture of the clay.
The Liang Tu studio consists of a married couple; the husband is part of the eponymous Dai ethnic group and the wife is Han. They've been producing Han-style tea wares (ie gong fu tea ware) with a Dai flare, using Dai clay, for half a decade. Each one of our Liang Tu wares is handmade and absolutely unique. Dai clay holds heat well and will develop a patina if unglazed. This lightly-glazed gaiwan can be used with any kind of tea without being dedicated. Being from Yunnan, Dai pottery is well-suited for use with Pu'er due to its chemical and thermal properties.