This charming tortoise tea pet is made of a sandy unglazed stoneware and has an impressive level of detail - from the wrinkles on the tortoise's face and neck to the pattern of their shell. This teapet makes an especially enjoyable target for a stream of tea, which is equally satisfying, but in different ways, poured on their shell or their head. Pouring tea on this tea pet evokes longevity, age, steadfastness and wisdom.
Tea pets 茶寵 (Chá Chǒng) are small figurines, usually made of unglazed stoneware (such as the kind teapots are made from), in the shape of animals, people, gods, mythical beasts, plants, fungi - pretty much anything at all. Their sole purpose is to be a recipient of waste water and waste tea produced over the course of the tea service from heating and rinsing the wares and leaves. Over time, they develop a patina of tea oils the way that tea pots do. This process of "raising" as it is called allows them to develop a dark, shiny lustre, with each tea pet taking on its own look and personality over time with use. They also serve a votive function - the pouring of tea over the figure calls in the "spirit" of whatever that figure represents. A good tea pet looks best when in use - ie when enjoying a stream of hot tea being poured over it.