Drax wrote:Hm, interesting! That last one you posted (with the flower on the edge of the handle) is Chinese, not Japanese. That one 4-character stamp is the classic "made in Yixing China" stamp...
Ok, thanks for mentioning the "made in Yixing China" stamp, I looked it up and found an interesting blog that discusses Chinese stamps from the Cultural Revolution era (1966-1976). That stamp is like the ones found on both my Chinese tea pots, which I now realize have almost the same signature. http://ancientteahorseroad.blogspot.com ... ixing.html
Also, the blog post mentions that low firing lead many of these pots to "have muddy odors from having been fired too low" exactly my issue with the last vertical red clay one I posted. I had a conversation about this with Hojo on Facebook a while ago. Hopefully he won't mind my reposting here;Hojo Tea
Hi Victoria, it is quite common that the clay teapots gives musty clay smell. In particular, a number of Yixing clay teapots often give such smell. It is due to the 2 reasons;
1. The baking temperature was too low that some smelly substances did not evaporate but remains. If the clay was baked at higher temperature, the clay would not smell that much. Japanese teapot in general is baked at higher temperature and therefore less Japanese clay is smelly. Some traditional Japanese tea equipment such as Hagi is baked at lower temperature. In China, some manufacture tends to bake teapot at too lower temperature so as to obtain the better performance of clay.
2. The clay by nature contains some substances that give unpleasant smell. Traditionally people season the teapot hoping that the smell goes away. They usually soaking it in a tea or boiling it with ginger in order to cover up these smells. Based on my experience, these smells never go off no matter how you do treat with the teapot. The musty smell is substituted by the smell of tea if teapot is used very often. However the annoying smell will come back once the tea constituents on the clay get oxidized.
It is very subjective whether or not we should continue using the smelly teapot. But for me, I will definitely never use it since it affects the smell of tea. In addition, I worry if it is not safe. Though I have no data to say it is harmful. I just want to stay away from the possible risk.