A cute little red tortoise peeking out of its shell. This chunky, round tea pet is fully detailed on top and bottom. The rough-textured scutes on top of the shell will patina beautifully with use. In Chinese culture, the tortoise represents longevity and tenacity.
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.