- Yixing Teapot Background
- Care & Cleaning
Our 12-oz Lion Head Yixing Teapot was hand made in Yixing China using the famous purple clay, zisha clay, that is said to only occur in the Yellow Dragon Cave of Dingshan town in Yixing, China. The shape of the teapot is somewhat square and the lid depicts a lion which plays an important part in Chinese mythology.
The most visible representation of the lion in China is as Guardian Lions also known as Shishi and Fu/Foo Dogs. They are an architectural ornament placed outside of an important structure. A male lion playing with a ball is always placed on the left and is said to protect the structure. On the right there is a female lion playing with a cub. She is said to protect the inhabitants of the structure.
The lion is believed to have special powers that could repel negative energy and provide protection. They also represent peace and are believed to impart calmness on to anyone who bears their mark. Conversely, they are also said to represent energy as well as calmness.
Yixing teaware first appeared in the early Northern Song dynasty (960 to 1279 A.D.) in China and gained in popularity during the Ming dynasty (1368 to 1644 A.D.). They were made of the purple clay, zisha clay, that is said to only occur in the Yellow Dragon Cave of Dingshan town in Yixing, China. It is said in China that zisha clay is worth more than gold and teapots made of this clay are prized despite their high prices due to their advantages in brewing tea. Not only are they said to maintain the freshness of the tea for long periods of time, but they also bring out the flavor of the tea and retain the heat longer than teapots made of other materials. This makes Yixing pots especially useful in the preparation of gongfu cha (the Chinese Tea Ceremony) because it allows the tea master to ensure that the quality of the tea is the same for each participant. Zisha clay is very porous and because of this it is advisable to brew only one kind of tea in an Yixing teapot because it will absorb the tea into the clay itself. It is said that after many years of using an Yixing teapot all you have to do is add hot water to the pot in order to have a perfect cup of tea. A Chinese tea aficionado (particularly the old timers) use the Yixing teapot not only to brew their tea, but also to drink it straight from the spout.Yixing teapots are used primarily in brewing oolong and puerh teas. The pots tend to be small, single serving size pots because these teas can be brewed numerous times. No tea collection is complete without a good Yixing tea pot!
Throughout the ages they have been renowned for their unique artistry and practical usage by incorporating the concepts of aesthetic beauty and natural harmony. In the Song dynasty Yixing zisha (purple clay) teapots were very simple, not at all ornate. As the centuries progressed they became more and more elaborate, decorative and elegant. As a matter of fact, the Forbidden City did not accept the Zisha teapot into its collection until the early Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911 A.D.) By that time the Zisha teapot had been elevated to an artistic form, and potters and scholars worked together to make beautiful, ornate pot styles.
Yixing teapots are very porous and will absorb the flavor of the tea brewed in them. As such it is customary to use each Yixing teapot with only one particular tea. Traditionally, Yixing pots are used with oolong and puerh teas using the Chinese gongfu method of brewing. Nevertheless, there is no reason you cannot use it for your favorite tea. The important factor is to use each Yixing teapot with only one kind of tea
Prior to using your new Yixing teapot it will need to be cleaned and seasoned. The most important thing to remember is to NEVER under any circumstances use any kind of cleaning agent such as soap! For the first cleaning you should give the pot a quick rinse with clean cool water. You can scrub the inside and outside of the pot with a clean sponge that has never had any cleaning agent on it, but it's not necessary. Then submerge the pot in cool clean water and leave it to soak overnight. The next day put the pot in a large deep pot on the stove and fill with more clean cool water to cover. Bring the water to a boil and simmer for five minutes. Drain and rinse the pot in clean water.
To season return the teapot to the deep pot and fill with clean water to cover and bring to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and add the tea you will be using with this teapot. Cover and let steep overnight. The next day rinse the pot with clean water one last time. Let the pot air dry with the lid open. You are now ready to make your first pot of tea.
After seasoning all you will ever need to do is rinse the pot with clean water after each use and let the it air dry with the top open. If by chance you use the pot with a different kind of tea you will need to re-season it all over again, but boil it with water two times in the cleaning step instead of once.