ChinesePottery - Yixing tea pots by XuJianQing


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ChinesePottery - Yixing tea pots by XuJianQing

Postby ChinesePottery » Feb 21st, '11, 07:43

Hello TeaChatters,

I found TeaChat thanks to a link on twitter and am really glad to be here.
Great place to read about the things we love.
My wife Julia and Me(Nico) live in Yixing and we will use this thread
to show the works of Julia's Uncle, award winning artist 徐建青.

You can find us on http://ChinesePottery.etsy.com but here in this
thread we will give much more precise and detailed information about
XuJianQing's tea pots. Especially for you TeaChatters.

All pots are of course authentic Yixing zisha pottery.

(if you are interested in an object shown here but not listed in etsy or website
please do contact us via email or PM)
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Re: ChinesePottery - Yixing tea pots by XuJianQing

Postby ChinesePottery » Feb 21st, '11, 09:30

The pots in this little couple are called piao hu (ladybug pot)

Image

The lighter pot is made of duanni in autumn 2010.
It has the words "fresh drink" inscribed as well as the details of it's making
"Year of the tiger", "autumn moon" & "JianQing made".

Image

The darker of the two is made of qing hui ni in winter 2009.
The inscription says "drink harmony" as well as the details of it's making
"Year of the Ox", "winter night", "JianQing handmade" & "in old YangXian".

Image

each of them holds about 280ml and is around 125mm, 90mm, 80mm in size.
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Re: ChinesePottery - Yixing tea pots by XuJianQing

Postby TokyoB » Feb 21st, '11, 17:21

Interesting pots. Thanks!
What rank craftsman is 徐建青? Please state in Chinese. Feel free to explain (hopefully in English! ;) ) what the various levels mean.
Thanks!
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Re: ChinesePottery - Yixing tea pots by XuJianQing

Postby Chip » Feb 22nd, '11, 01:13

Nice to have another Yixing interest in TA. Good luck, Nico!

This is not normally how TA works, but the situation is also similar to FindDream's. A close relative Yixing potter.
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Re: ChinesePottery - Yixing tea pots by XuJianQing

Postby ChinesePottery » Feb 22nd, '11, 23:40

TokyoB wrote:Interesting pots. Thanks!
What rank craftsman is 徐建青? Please state in Chinese. Feel free to explain (hopefully in English! ;) ) what the various levels mean.
Thanks!


http://www.yxrc.com.cn/search/search_gymszc.htm might be of interest to you.
It's the official inquiry system for professional titles in Yixing Zisha Arts and Crafts.

There are currently 2674 people listed who hold official titles. Nowadays (just since ~2006) titles are granted after passing exams which start with tests on relevant professional knowledge. Once passed, one is allowed to take the live skill assessment parts of the tests.
Various requirements like educational background and time passed since the last test taken have to be fulfilled to get one step higher on this ladder.

XuJianQing is (currently) 个体 工艺美术员which is a individual member of arts and crafts. If one is in employment for someone else instead of their own studio that would be listed too.

In the past, like in times when the big zisha factories had their prime people got titles almost automatically with their position and they started lower, technician or the like, so there where probably more than the current 5.

If one buys a teapot, especially for higher priced ones, this is a useful system to get some idea if the pot is actually Yixing.

To be honest though, there are some older people with amazing pottery skills who don't have any titles at all and might not even know a title and ranking system like the current one exists. The quality of your teapot does not get any better or worse with the title itself.

There is also no real correlation anymore between the title held and the quality of the clay used other than money. If an artist is able to achieve higher prices for their pots they can afford better clay.

But more on Yixing clay and it's availability in another post. (I might create a topic for that in Teaware and Accessories)

Other than the craftsman level rankings I find prizes won where a panel of accredited experts gives an assessment of the work like the recent 12th Expo of Art & Crafts Masterpieces in Shanghai (was 15th-18th. Oct) a better indicator for an artists skills, but even that, just like the titles, don't make any teapot better or worse.

The best way is always ones own eye and taste, although if bought for investment purposes rather than for personal use the certificates do of course help.

When I sometimes sit in uncles shop in the new Dingshan pottery market, now known as "China Ceramics City" I can often tell what purpose a buyer wants his or her pot for. Like one pot, "Long Zhu", is very popular with investors because one of these has been collected by the Wuxi museum, and people like the assurance that a curator too liked it enough to do so. Don't get me wrong, it is a really nice pot(i might show pictures of it here later), but sometimes people don't seem to trust their own liking.
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Re: ChinesePottery - Yixing tea pots by XuJianQing

Postby ChinesePottery » Feb 23rd, '11, 01:19

Herb_Master wrote:If your Uncle could (or already has) a mould for half handmade pots


Here is an example of 2 pots that do use a mould and they are not as expensive as handmade ones. Not sure if they are already small enough for you.

They are Fang Gu Ru Yi made of zini and qing shui ni. They hold an estimated 150ml, but that's just a guess, I didn't measure.

Image
Image

Their size is about 120mm, 80mm, 70mm.

PS. sorry about the smudge on the zini pot, i should have paid more attention to cleanliness when taking the pictures.
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Re: ChinesePottery - Yixing tea pots by XuJianQing

Postby Herb_Master » Feb 23rd, '11, 05:16

It looks like a good vehicle for testing out the different clays, but may be just too large for some teachatters.

How many different clays could it be made in?

How many orders from Teachat would your Uncle want to give a really good low price on each pot?

How many orders from Teachat would your Uncle want to be persuaded to make a mold about 100 to 115 ml?
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Re: ChinesePottery - Yixing tea pots by XuJianQing

Postby Herb_Master » Feb 25th, '11, 20:14

I am working on your info, I am likely to proceed with an order for the 4 main clays, will talk to you again shortly.

For a Teachat special you need to talk directly to Chip, for a better idea of what it entails you could browse the folder

Hagi & TeawareArtisan SOP & OTTI

looking at the threads marked SO rather than the threads marked OTTI

A Teachat Teaware Artisan Special Offer, would be a better candidate for the additional clays that require more participants. Let a few of us buy the Zhuni, Qing Hui Ni, Qing Shui Ni and Zini pots - and if they are well received I am sure a TC SO on Duanni and the like would go well.
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Re: ChinesePottery - Yixing tea pots by XuJianQing

Postby Chip » Feb 25th, '11, 21:32

Some discussion on the TA SO program.

http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=12793

Please contact me if interested. :mrgreen:
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Re: ChinesePottery - Yixing tea pots by XuJianQing

Postby ChinesePottery » Feb 28th, '11, 00:13

Herb_Master wrote:I am working on your info, I am likely to proceed with an order for the 4 main clays, will talk to you again shortly.


That's nice to read indeed. I'm looking forward to your reply.
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Re: ChinesePottery - Yixing tea pots by XuJianQing

Postby tingjunkie » Mar 5th, '11, 00:27

Hi CP. I was just checking out your Etsy site. Besides your uncle, how many different artists' pots do you sell? Are all the artists friends of yours or your uncle's? If not, what criteria do you use for choosing what to sell? I noticed the price for a pot ranges from $39 to $738.

Thanks a lot for educating me. I love learning about how the Yixing pottery world works! :D
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Re: ChinesePottery - Yixing tea pots by XuJianQing

Postby ChinesePottery » Mar 5th, '11, 06:22

tingjunkie wrote:Hi CP. I was just checking out your Etsy site. Besides your uncle, how many different artists' pots do you sell? Are all the artists friends of yours or your uncle's? If not, what criteria do you use for choosing what to sell? I noticed the price for a pot ranges from $39 to $738.

Thanks a lot for educating me. I love learning about how the Yixing pottery world works! :D


Hi Tingjunkie,

I don't think I'm qualified in any way to educate you or others in these matters, but
I will of course share the little insights I gained.

A few selected pots we listed in Etsy are by other artisans. I know that's actually not
by the rules (thanks for telling on me) but rarely if it is a beautiful pot we did put it in
there anyways. I won't put pictures of those up here in TC though.
I usually indicate clearly if the pot carries someone else's mark.

You will for instance be able to find 2 or 3 teapots in our etsy shop which are marked
by XuXiaoYa (许小亚) which is a relative of XuJianQing's wife. Marriages between artisans or families that have some form of zisha involvement happen quite often. Not a big surprise really, it's like everywhere else people meet through work and so forth and DingShan is not all that big. Well, but I am getting off the topic as this now gets quite deep into family history....
So, long story short, if there is a pot listed there then because it is actually in XuJianQing's showroom in the pottery market as he choose to do so for a related or befriended artisan.

Pots that are not fully handmade, but use a mold are sometimes marked with a
registered brand-name instead of his usual mark. In XuJianQing's case the brand-name is
YaYi (雅逸)That seems to be a quite popular practice amongst many Yixing artisans these days and is usually used to easier distinguish between different price ranges.
Other factors that help spread the price range (and that is absolutely intentional) are of course clays used, complexity, time and maybe even just how the uncle felt that day when he stuck a tag on. Artisans need to eat too, and if it makes someone on a small budget happy to buy a mold made pot and another one with deeper pockets to buy a pot a lot of work went into, to enjoy his or her tea
then everyone is happy.

Cheers
Nico
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Re: ChinesePottery - Yixing tea pots by XuJianQing

Postby tingjunkie » Mar 5th, '11, 10:45

Thanks for the response Nico. Since anyone who visits your link can plainly see there are different chops on some pots, and you openly mention different artists in the individual descriptions, I didn't think I was blowing your cover. :) I've been pretty impressed with the candor of your posts on TeaChat so far (posting photos of inspection certificates, admitting a potters official designation may no be related to the quality of their work, etc.) so I wanted to take the rare opportunity to ask a few questions of a fluent English speaker directly connected to the production and sale of Yixing wares.

I understand the need for a potter to sell their work at different price points to cover both casual users/beginners and serious collectors, but I'm sure there must be different grades of clay your uncle uses. Can you speak a bit more on what types an what grades of raw clay your uncle uses? If he has stocks of older clays?

Thanks again. You shouldn't underestimate your ability to be an educator! I'm sure MANY people on this board will relish the opportunity to get straight answers on Yixing pots from a vendor and family member of a potter. :)
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Re: ChinesePottery - Yixing tea pots by XuJianQing

Postby tingjunkie » Mar 5th, '11, 11:08

P.S. That's interesting about potters using a brand name on mold made pots instead of their own mark (outside of the official big government factories of course). I was unaware of that practice. Is XuJianQing the only potter who creates pots under the YaYi brand, or are there others? His students perhaps? Thanks!
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Re: ChinesePottery - Yixing tea pots by XuJianQing

Postby ChinesePottery » Mar 5th, '11, 23:16

tingjunkie wrote:P.S. That's interesting about potters using a brand name on mold made pots instead of their own mark (outside of the official big government factories of course). I was unaware of that practice. Is XuJianQing the only potter who creates pots under the YaYi brand, or are there others? His students perhaps? Thanks!


XuJianQing does not currently have a student.

Potters who facilitate molds for the purpose of easier/faster making of teapots often do outsource a little here. After the design of a new teapot is finished and a mold has been made and that particular shape of pot is popular or sells, often part of the work is done by others. Not students though, but older craftsmen like potters who used to work in one of the big factories and are retired or housewives now. At least I didn't come across students doing that kind of work, they are naturally more interested in learning the skills needed for handmade pots.

The YaYi brand logo looks like this:
YaYi-logo.jpg
YaYi-logo.jpg (53.12 KiB) Viewed 4002 times
(the little sticker covers a 'TM' as the picture was taken a while back before the brand was registered)

One of the reasons that registering/having a brand is rather popular amongst potters is to
avoid resellers passing cheaper pots carrying the artisans mark as wholly made by that craftsman. If one goes in the artisans shop oneself one gets usually told if the pot was made by the artisan or if others had their hand on the clay too. In XuJianQing's showroom for instance you'd be guided to the second floor to get to see the better pots.

So if you will, creating a brand is the craftsman's way of restoring some trust that was spoiled by resellers or to avoid such problems.

Cheers
Nico
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