Mutton Fat Jade Porcelain is one of our most exciting ceramic discoveries of last year. It is a recent creation by potters in Dehua, Fujian, one of China's porcelain capitals (along with Jingdezhen). Dehua is famous for their carved porcelain statuary, where the emphasis is on the texture of the clay and the character of the naked clay body, as opposed to Jingdezhen which is known for the painting on the surface of their wares.This strikingly-white, raw (unglazed) porcelain has an ethereal luminous quality to it that is achieved through a very specific ratio of flux to kaolin in the clay blend. This ratio must fall within a very narrow window to create the combination of a soft, matte finish with radiant translucence that gives this clay its name. The subsurface scattering of light through this porcelain is reminiscent of snow, beeswax, or, apparently, mutton fat. It is an excellent insulator and despite being unglazed is vitrified enough to make any kind of tea without taking on its flavor. Unlike normal raw porcelain, it doesn't stain easily - simply washing it with hot water and wiping it clean after each use is enough to maintain its brilliant whiteness through months of daily use. It will eventually begin to take on a soft ivory patina which can be easily removed with baking soda. Despite being unornamented white porcelain - the most standard of teaware materials - these wares never fail to turn heads when they're brought out.
This classic ~120ml Gaiwan benefits not only from the heat retention and luminous beauty of the clay but also the comfortable grip between the lid and the bowl due to the matte surface. Its function is noticeably superior to most glazed gaiwans, producing a smooth, clean pour. While this gaiwan is suitable for any tea and does not need to be dedicated, it has become our clay of choice for many low-oxidation Phoenix, Anxi, and Taiwanese oolongs, as well as early spring red teas and green and yellow teas of all kinds. The soft texture and excellent insulation of the clay make this Gaiwan a joy to hold and to use.
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I generally try not to indulge my ever present desire to purchase new tea ware, but I couldn't pass up adding some mutton fat jade porcelain to my collection! The tactile feel of the porcelain is great, and it's beautiful when held up to the light. The only knock for me is the flare of edges. The top edges don't flare outwards quite as far as most other gaiwans I've used, so it gets pretty hot on your fingers when pouring out. Able to get around this issue by filling a bit less than I normally would, so not a huge problem. All in all I love this thing and it's my new go to.