The pottery tradition of the Dai, an ethnic group indigenous to Southern Yunnan, is based in wood-firing. This challenging technique gives their pieces a striking, lustrous finish from the high heat and wood ash which melts into a natural glaze. This triumphant piece continues that legacy. Produced by the Liang Tu Studio, this is one of two wood-fired teapots that survived the firing process and made it into our hands. The other sold before it could make it onto the website. The husband-wife duo that makes up Liang Tu is driven by their passion and creativity; no two pieces of theirs are identical and they do not generally do production lines. In the nearly 4 years I've known them, they've only wood-fired teapots once before this. The wood-firing process is difficult and as much as 70% of pieces fired in this way are destroyed in the kiln. Those that emerge have a unique look and feel that can only be achieved through wood-firing.
The coppery brilliance of this pot reflects the intense heat of the wood kiln. The wood-ash glaze covers the body of the pot in an organic pattern that is at the mercy of the kiln and air currents as the wood ash deposits and melts where it will. The effect is enhanced by the simple relief carvings on either side of this pot; the facing side in this photo features a floral pattern at the top of the body while the reverse has a Dai holy flame pattern at the base. Although it is unglazed, the high heat of wood firing vitrifies this pot so that it will not absorb the flavor of teas made in it the way a medium-fired unglazed Dai pot would. As such, it can be used to make all kinds of tea. Since it is made from Yunnan clay and holds heat well, it is well-suited for use with Yunnan teas such as Pu'er.