Mutton Fat Jade Porcelain Xi Shi Teapot (羊脂玉瓷西施茶壺, Yáng Zhī Yù Cí Xī Shī Chá Hú, "Mutton Fat Jade Porcelain Xi Shi Teapot") - 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 ~150ml teapot is a Xishi pot, one of the most famous tea pot forms. Modeled after the breasts of the Imperial Concubine Xishi, one of classical China's four renowned beauties, the round shape of the pot extends beyond its Freudian appeal because the highly-efficient shape allows for full expansion of leaves and convection of water. This beautiful Xishi pot features an incredibly fine, expanded golf-ball style filter for a graceful, powerful pour that is nearly impossible to clog. The feeling of the pot with its soft matte texture is irresistible, especially when it's warm. We dare you not to rub your face on it.
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I bought the teapot as well as the gaiwan. Both are lovely to use. The one complaint I have is that the teapot I received a carved figure (presumed to be XiShi) as the handle rather than the plain smooth handle as pictured. I would have preferred the plain handle as I don't really like the feel of the carving when I hold the teapot.
This xishi hu teapot has the perfect pour. I have teapots that I paid 3 times the price that don't pour this well. The lid is wide enough to put any type of leaf in the pot. The filter is wonderful, it retains what is necessary but filters everything else. I do wish you had an 80ml pot because this is a bit large for a solo session but perfect for two or more. The density of the clay used opens up the leaves but doesn't scald the leaves. All in all a wonderful pot!!