- 9 Koi Teapot Background
- Care & Cleaning
This fancifull handmade traditional 15-oz. Yixing teapot has the figures of nine koi fish--the spout is one, two are on the lid and there are three on each side of the pot. An ancient Chinese legend tells of how Koi fish triumphantly swam up a waterfall and through the Dragon Gate and were then magically transformed into Dragons. As such, the Koi has become a symbol of strength and endurance, determination and perseverance. The number "9" is a powerful number that represents culmination and completion.
This fancifull handmade traditional Yixing teapot has the figures of nine koi fish--the spout is one, two are on the lid and there are three on each side of the pot. An ancient Chinese legend tells of how Koi fish triumphantly swam up a waterfall and through the Dragon Gate and were then magically transformed into Dragons. As such, the Koi has become a symbol of strength and endurance, determination and perseverance. The number "9" is a powerful number that represents culmination and completion. In Feng Shui three fish symbolizes “yang” energy so people often use two goldfish (which represent energy and good luck) and one black fish (representing protection). Some people also use nine fish – eight golden or red and one black. The number eight represents prosperity. The black goldfish is used as protection, if misfortune hits your family, this ninth goldfish will die and receive the misfortune instead of you. Some geomancers place a tank of black goldfish at an inauspicious place to ward off bad influences.
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.