Yixing teapots: Standard traditional forms

Yixing teapots: Standard traditional forms
November 14, 2011 Leo Kwan
In History

Yixing teapot traditional forms as documented in antiquity

The crude ancient documentation of traditional forms is a strong reminder that Yixing teapot is still very much an art passed on only by way of apprenticeship

Since the craft of Yixing teapot has been very much an apprentice system for the last few centuries, many basic teapot forms have been in place for new comers to learn the intricacy of the styling art.

Tested by Time

Tested by time, these forms — when well made — usually offer better ergonomics, elegance and subtly in aesthetics, and good infusion mechanics. It is common practice that artists further perfect or build on these forms to make their own signature, although most also develop new designs of their own.

The names of the traditional forms were mostly derived from the original objects that inspired the form, such as “pear” or “bamboo drum”. Or they can be descriptive of an idea or a concept, such as “shuiping” — leveling with the water surface, as the styling is typified by leveling the opening of the spout and the neck. Or they can be of a poetic or philosophical abstraction, such as “cang tian” — the celestial sky, as is abstracted by the dome shape lid, ie the round heaven, and a relatively flatter body, ie the flat earth — so was the belief and the sayings of the old days.

Unless a new form is really convincing, we usually offer traditional forms or their derivatives.

Simplicity: Our Belief

There are also forms with heavy ornamental styling. As we focus in tea, we think ornamentalist approaches are beyond our realm so we have chosen our preference for simpler forms to maintain our focus in the fundamental functional values of Yixing teapots. Elegance and precision in simplicity, after all, is one key philosophy in the art of finer teas.

Yixing teapot traditional form: Pear Yixing teapot traditional form: Fang-gu Yixing teapot traditional form: Ru-ding Yixing teapot traditional form: Half Moon Yixing teapot traditional form: Shui-ping
Yixing teapot traditional form: Pan-hu Yixing teapot traditional form: Xiao-cang-tian Yixing teapot traditional form: Shuang-xian Zhu-gu Yixing teapot traditional form: De-zhong Yixing teapot traditional form: Sang-bian
Yixing Teapots: The Clays
Handcrafting Yixing Teapots
Ergonomic Criteria for a Yixing Teapot
Artist Ranking

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