Lao Zhuni from Yunnan Sourcing - A closer inspection


Discussion on virtually any teaware related item.

Re: Lao Zhuni from Yunnan Sourcing - A closer inspection

Postby auhckw » Oct 30th, '10, 10:06

isaac wrote:yes, i think that is a wise decision.

US$700 can get you a good pair of clay teapots especially when you are more concerned about the clay than the potter.

Since you are based in Malaysia, may i suggest that you drop by to Singapore and look at Wang San Yang (3 shops: in Vivocity, Orchard Ion and Chinatown - Hong Lim Complex) or Wang San Le (at Chinatown Point) or Yue Hwa Department Store (in Chinatown). There are also others like Tea Chapter, Nam Yuen, etc which I have not visited.

The owners of Wang San Yang had recently returned with a collection of teapots from yixing. I bought 4 teapots from them and find them honest and reliable, qualities i value as extremely important.

I would love to meet a fellow tea enthusiast and although i do not know much, i am willing to share what i know.


Thanks for the reference. I am planning to go Singapore for Christmas holiday, maybe will have a look there but would be kind of difficult to purchase since Mrs is going along too :(
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Re: Lao Zhuni from Yunnan Sourcing - A closer inspection

Postby isaac » Oct 30th, '10, 10:21

auhckw wrote:Thanks for the reference. I am planning to go Singapore for Christmas holiday, maybe will have a look there but would be kind of difficult to purchase since Mrs is going along too :(


You are most welcome.

Remember to check the name of any potter given to you from the website that Chrl42 provided: http://www.yxzst.com. It is still good to assure yourself that the potter has a minimum of technical skills and reliance on an objective website is far better than reliance on the photocopies of their certificates - a fact i learnt from experience.

Lau Zhuni is quite hard to find although zhuni is relatively more common.

A number of teapot shops sell tea too and your wife can taste them. The widest selection are in Wang San Yang and Yue Hwa, to my knowledge. Tea Chapter and Nam Yuen sells tea too. Tea, as many say, is slimming, reduces cholesterol and has a calming effect.

However don't admire the xi shi teapot too much.
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Re: Lao Zhuni from Yunnan Sourcing - A closer inspection

Postby isaac » Oct 30th, '10, 12:10

One more point: US$700 is more than enough if you are just going after good clay.

Just to give you a rough guide to pricepoints, using a junior craftsman listed in Chrl42 suggested website as a base:

ben shan luni: US$300 - US$500 on average (recently i saw one listed at S$1800 but it has since been sold - beautifully made)
lau duanni: quite rare, approximately US$400
duanni: <US$300

If you are focusing on potters, then the gong shu mei shu shi category can set you back by more than a thousand. The clay may just be mixed zisha and nothing extraordinary - but good clay nonetheless.

I am still hazy about Chrl42 suggested website because recently 3 yixing potters came to give an exhibition. One of them said he is gao zi, another gong zi. None of them are listed on the website. The vendor told me that the website is probably not updated. There is an official (plenty of unofficial ones) small handbook published by yixing authorities listing all the certified potters. That can conclusively settle the question but it does not seem available for purchase.

Nonetheless if you are going after potters, it is best to come during their exhibitions and buy direct from them. It is a better indication of authenticity unless they imprint their seal on their family members' works. Of that, there is no defense.

Any way my point is that you do not need US$700 to get good clay teapots. I think US$250 is more than enough especially since the potter is not a concern. Again, i have not seen any teapots that I can endorse as lau zhuni teapots here (they have all been bought) and their price points starts from US$600 and range to US$2,000 for potters that are not well known.

Yue Hwa has a collection of teapots from famous potters but you need to satisfy yourself of the authenticity. That is a subject far beyond my current expertise. It is however an excellent education as Singapore does not have a teaware museum unlike Hong Kong.

Perhaps you can share the situation in Malaysia?
Last edited by isaac on Oct 30th, '10, 12:21, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Re:

Postby Tead Off » Oct 30th, '10, 12:18

Herb_Master wrote:
hop_goblin wrote:
.... Generally, Zhuni today refers to the sifting that the clay will go under. Before the clay is refined it will go thru a sifting process where the heavier impurities will fall to the bottom while the Zhuni layer will float to the top. .......



Interesting :shock:
I had assumed it was the other way round. I have some zhuni pots bought in Malaysia made by a potter called 'Gao Jian Jun' - not renowned for his pot shape and form (though I am delighted by them) my friends buy his pots because of the clay.

He has a huge pile of early 90's ore and every year turns small parts of it into clay to make pots with. The pot I bought 18 months ago was 40 hole clay and the pots I bought recently were 60 hole clay. When asked for an explanation of the difference I was told the 60 hole clay was smoother! When I said I meant what was the technical difference I was told the number of holes referred to the number of holes in a set sized area of the sieve - so the more holes, the smaller the holes are. Thus the clay drops through the sieve and the unwanted particles remain in the sieve.

Maybe different potters have different techniques.

From what I understand, the sifting process will reduce the particles to a particular size desired by the potter. Then the rock would undergo a 'fermentatiion' process of soaking where the separation between what the potter wants to use from what he doesn't. I would assume what's floating would be the more refined clay, skimmed off and processed afterward. Any corrections to this are most welcome as I've only gleaned this from what I've read.

According to Billy Mood's Yixing site, the older zhuni pots have a larger particle size as compared with today's modern zhuni which is much smaller and smoother. It is also said that many of the secret formulas for processing zhuni rock have been lost furthering the difference between modern and lao zhuni. This is another reason why the old zhuni pots are usually quite expensive and sought after by connoisseurs.
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Re: Lao Zhuni from Yunnan Sourcing - A closer inspection

Postby bagua7 » Oct 30th, '10, 16:02

isaac wrote:...I think US$250 is more than enough especially since the potter is not a concern...


Well, finally I purchased a Yixing from the Hong Kong local arts dealer here where I live and it is a commercial pot but I am very happy with it. Smells like clay, feels like that and it's fully functional: no leaks and pours fast. I spent $100 (probably $50-$60 in China). Now let's age this baby as it is one, full of fire, like an infant.
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Re: Lao Zhuni from Yunnan Sourcing - A closer inspection

Postby Drax » Oct 30th, '10, 19:51

I love this board! Somebody can necro-post a 2-year-old thread and it restarts like it never stopped.

It's amazing! :mrgreen:

In any case... in many arts, the cost comes not from the materials, but from the artist's time. It is sounding as though that may not be true here...?
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Re: Lao Zhuni from Yunnan Sourcing - A closer inspection

Postby isaac » Oct 31st, '10, 01:00

I think there are two perspectives here.

One is where the teapot is intended for functional use. If that is the intention, the ability to brew a good pot of tea is of utmost importance. For that to happen, the clay is paramount, the shape is a close second and the potter is of limited importance.

The second is where the teapot is intended to be part of a collection. In some cases, the teapot is not usable because the clay is full of additives. The verdict is as yet out as to whether it is safe to use it. In other cases, the teapot is fully functional, giving off the best brew with the highest technical excellence. Not many will use such a teapot regularly because the slightest chip will send its value pummelling. Unless you can convince the next collector that the chip adds to its value.

The price of the teapot, if low, is a good indicator of its overall value. It stands to reason if the cost of raw materials, potter's time, distribution and marketing costs add up to $27, then it is unlikely to be a collector's item. Then the purchase of such teapots has to be on the basis that it can brew an adequate cup of tea. And it can, if you get the right combination of teapot and tea. But you must be careful that the clay does not contain additives.
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Re: Lao Zhuni from Yunnan Sourcing - A closer inspection

Postby isaac » Oct 31st, '10, 01:05

mayayo wrote:Well, finally I purchased a Yixing from the Hong Kong local arts dealer here where I live and it is a commercial pot but I am very happy with it. Smells like clay, feels like that and it's fully functional: no leaks and pours fast. I spent $100 (probably $50-$60 in China). Now let's age this baby as it is one, full of fire, like an infant.


Yes, i think that is a reasonable price to pay for a teapot that can brew a good cup of tea. All the best to you.

Can you share more about the Hong Kong teapot dealers - the better and more reputable ones?
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Re: Lao Zhuni from Yunnan Sourcing - A closer inspection

Postby bagua7 » Nov 1st, '10, 21:18

Sorry maybe I should have explained myself a bit better. He's originally from HK but currently lives in Australia (as I do) but travels often to HK and China where he has got contacts from which he purchases teas and teaware. I tried to get some more info about it and although he is a kind of a friend of mine he's not willing to share that info with me yet.

I am more than happy after I was invited to a gong fu cha session last Sat. where one of his friends, also from HK, shared with us a 40 year old pu erh. It was a very special experience to me to the point that if I could drink that kind of tea every day (like he does) I wouldn't touch any other teas. Nothing can be compared to driking vintage pu erh. NOTHING.

Next Sat. it will be a 1967 pu erh. Can't wait for that! That guy has 1910 stuff but not sharing that with me yet. Asians are slow in their decisions and I fully respect that.
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Re: Lao Zhuni from Yunnan Sourcing - A closer inspection

Postby isaac » Nov 2nd, '10, 04:11

can you try describing the pu-erh for the rest of us to imagine, eg compared to wine, coffee, more general grade of pu-erh, etc

the ones i tasted: one a green pu-erh which i thought was simply excellent but then i was comparing it to green tea; the other a 11-year old roasted pu-erh which was relatively smooth to the throat, easy to swallow and has a mellow flavour to it. Comparing that to the type of pu-erh which i can afford $11 for 100 grams, it was rather different in texture. The older one is more evenly spread and the taste covers the whole throat.
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Re: Lao Zhuni from Yunnan Sourcing - A closer inspection

Postby heliospace » Feb 18th, '13, 17:06

Was a verdict ever reached about this particular teapot? I ask because I acquired one of these exact pots and one thing that I feel may had not been mentioned is the fact that there is a full seam all the way around that separates the base of the teapot from the main wall of the teapot. I have yet to identify and understand the clay and it sits, but it looks precisely as the OP's pictures. If anyone is curious once again, I would be more than happy to share full photos of the pot.

Just wondering...what clay is this? And is it safe?
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Re: Lao Zhuni from Yunnan Sourcing - A closer inspection

Postby tingjunkie » Feb 18th, '13, 18:49

heliospace wrote:Just wondering...what clay is this? And is it safe?


No clay is safe. Ever.

FACT... 100% of people who use Yixing teapots will die.
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Re: Lao Zhuni from Yunnan Sourcing - A closer inspection

Postby TIM » Feb 18th, '13, 19:11

tingjunkie wrote:
heliospace wrote:Just wondering...what clay is this? And is it safe?


No clay is safe. Ever.

FACT... 100% of people who use Yixing teapots will die.


Just not today :)
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Re: Lao Zhuni from Yunnan Sourcing - A closer inspection

Postby bagua7 » Feb 18th, '13, 19:15

...especially if they have bats attached to the lid since they are vampire magnets.

Image

Be very careful with these! :twisted:
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