Chinese burial tea set

by Alan
(Maidenhead, UK)

So much for our Professor of Antiquities! He did a good job with the translation though!

I have attached 2 more photos with a higher definition which hopefully allow you to better see the decoration and the base. I should have added size - the above teapot is approx 3.5 inches to the top of the lid. There is a light brown/reddish colour coming through on some of them in places - which I guess should have alerted me. Pity, I thought that he was quite genuine in his knowledge/expertise. That said it was an unforgettable experience visiting China in those days.

Comments for Chinese burial tea set

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Jan 10, 2012
by: peter

With a Kangxi mark, that could be 17th or 18th century, if it were genuine, not 15th. :-)

Yes, Chinese teapots are very small. Cups are small too, often about the size of a small Espresso cup. Many pots are only about 8cm high or even less. The tea leaves almost fill the pot. After filling perhaps four cups the pot has to be refilled, while the leaves remain inside.

Jan 10, 2012
by: Alan

Thank you Peter. The inside is the same dark colour as the outside - although very dusty. There is a small chip on the lip of one of the lids which shows as ordinary reddish clay - so it would appear that they has been coloured after making. As everywhere is the same dark brown colour - including inside the spout and some rough protrusions inside where the hole was made for the spout - it would seem that they were submerged rather than had something rubbed on. This shows on the vase in particular where the colour wasn't evenly applied.
The teapots are so small that I hadn't thought that they would be used. As things like the moulding lines show through in some places I had always thought that they were for decoration or a child's play tea set.
Anyway highly doubtful that they are 15 century!

Jan 09, 2012
tea set
by: peter

If it is the unglazed Yixing clay it couldn't that way, naturally. Either something was rubbed on, or the pot was smoked. Is it the same color inside? When scratching at an inconspicous spot like the foot rim, will lighter clay become visible? Or is it more like the teapot on top here:
Anyway, the age of Yixing teapots is very difficult to estimate and evaluation is usually based on the potter's mark. That is the artisan's name is more important than with any other type of Chinese ceramics.

I don't know how much the percentage of fakes to genuine ceramics were on the market in China in those days. Some think today it is 99%.
The shape is too elaborate to be practical however, especially the spout. I have seen hundreds if not thousands of such pots, but something like this is rare. Looks like if it were made for decoration only, not for actual use.

Please don't use it. Some clays may be tainted with toxic chemicals. (This may sound strange, but some Chinese collectors do actually use old pots.)

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