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.
Our handle-less ~150 ml cylindrical gaiwan combines the precision pour and heat retention of a clay gong dao bei with the distinctive translucence of Mutton Fat Jade Porcelain. This allows the color and even the outline of the liquid tea to be visible through the clay, even in indoor lighting conditions. The thickness of the clay ensures a cool grip even with very hot tea. The contour of this vessel sits comfortably in the hand, providing an extremely ergonomic tea-pouring experience. One of the smoothest and cleanest pours we've gotten from any gong dao bei made from any material.
These pieces have a nice, reassuring heft to them. This gong dao bei goes well with the "Mutton Fat Jade Porcelain Xi Shi Teapot."
Solid construction! Note, this is my second gong dao bei of similar volume, and this one is notably weightier than my last one - I suspect that helps with keeping your tea warm though. The spout pours well and isn't prone to dribbling. This is a simple piece but it's very clean-looking (in both color and curvature) and it's pleasing to use.
I have thrown away badly designed fairness cups, either because the pour was not accurate, or because of the dreaded drips. This one is now my default because no matter how much tea I put in, it remains cool and the pour is perfect. Just touching it brings me happiness. I have the entire mutton fat jade set with master cups and it is a wonderful functional show piece!