Antique/Vintage Tea and Tea Ware


Discussion on virtually any teaware related item.

Re: Antique/Vintage Tea and Tea Ware

Postby Alex » Jan 21st, '13, 08:41

Both those light/white ones look lovely.
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Re: Antique/Vintage Tea and Tea Ware

Postby victoria3 » Jan 21st, '13, 15:18

Alex wrote:Both those light/white ones look lovely.


Thanks, they are my favorites along with the Banko purple clay one for different teas. The unglazed cream clay set with the 'mogake design' is amazingly well crafted by a talented artisan. The texture of the clay is wonderfully fine, light and great to feel in the hand.
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Re: Antique/Vintage Tea and Tea Ware

Postby victoria3 » Jan 21st, '13, 18:13

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
Zhong Guo YiXing Mark made in 'Yixing China'_.jpg
Zhong Guo YiXing Mark made in 'Yixing China'_.jpg (39.4 KiB) Viewed 1496 times

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.
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Re: Antique/Vintage Tea and Tea Ware

Postby Teaism » Jan 22nd, '13, 02:09

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.

Hi Victoria3,

Yixing pot should not have smell and if there is, it is best to use it for decoration only. There are sayings that in those smelly pots, the clay is spiked with lead and/or iron to reduce the firing temp to around 600 instead of over 1000, for economical purpose. Also real Yixing clay is rare now and very unlikely to be found in the present commercially mass market pot. So be careful. If you have doubt, Gaiwan is a safer bet or those pots of the 70s/80s is generally a better bet.

Cheers and have a good day my friend.
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Re: Antique/Vintage Tea and Tea Ware

Postby victoria3 » Jan 22nd, '13, 15:47

Teaism wrote:Hi Victoria3,
Yixing pot should not have smell and if there is, it is best to use it for decoration only. There are sayings that in those smelly pots, the clay is spiked with lead and/or iron to reduce the firing temp to around 600 instead of over 1000, for economical purpose. Also real Yixing clay is rare now and very unlikely to be found in the present commercially mass market pot. So be careful. If you have doubt, Gaiwan is a safer bet or those pots of the 70s/80s is generally a better bet.

Teaism, interesting insight regarding adding iron or lead to clay in order to fire at a lower temperature. Are you saying they are doing this today in China, or also during the Cultural Revolution? Since I purchased the musty smelly Yixing pot at an antiquities sale, I'm assuming it is from the 60's or 70's (from the stamp) although that is just a guess.

Your comment brings up another interesting question regarding possible lead content not only in clay, but also in the glazing of antique & vintage teapots. I wonder if we can identify the presence of lead in a vintage vessel before purchasing it?

There is a thread at http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=16523&hilit=lead discussing lead content in colorful glazes. CHIP comments " I won't drink from an internally painted Kutani cup, for instance. It would just distract and worry me too much."
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Re: Antique/Vintage Tea and Tea Ware

Postby Tead Off » Jan 23rd, '13, 02:38

victoria3 wrote:
Teaism wrote:Hi Victoria3,
Yixing pot should not have smell and if there is, it is best to use it for decoration only. There are sayings that in those smelly pots, the clay is spiked with lead and/or iron to reduce the firing temp to around 600 instead of over 1000, for economical purpose. Also real Yixing clay is rare now and very unlikely to be found in the present commercially mass market pot. So be careful. If you have doubt, Gaiwan is a safer bet or those pots of the 70s/80s is generally a better bet.

Teaism, interesting insight regarding adding iron or lead to clay in order to fire at a lower temperature. Are you saying they are doing this today in China, or also during the Cultural Revolution? Since I purchased the musty smelly Yixing pot at an antiquities sale, I'm assuming it is from the 60's or 70's (from the stamp) although that is just a guess.

Your comment brings up another interesting question regarding possible lead content not only in clay, but also in the glazing of antique & vintage teapots. I wonder if we can identify the presence of lead in a vintage vessel before purchasing it?

There is a thread at http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=16523&hilit=lead discussing lead content in colorful glazes. CHIP comments " I won't drink from an internally painted Kutani cup, for instance. It would just distract and worry me too much."

It is hard to imagine anyone today in their right mind knowingly adding lead to clay in order to make it fire at a lower temperature. I also doubt that the addition of iron to the clay will make it smell but maybe I don't know enough about the chemistry to make that statement. There are many 'theories' and 'old wives' tales circulating that lead us to state as fact things we hear on the grapevine. If you have smelly pots, a very good reason may simply be that it was stored improperly in a humid environment. I have bought Japanese chawan from ebay that had musty smells that could not be gotten out no matter what I would try. I would either toss them in the garbage or use them just for display if they are particularly lovely. I have one such Raku like this. Also low-fired.
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Re: Antique/Vintage Tea and Tea Ware

Postby ethan » Feb 14th, '13, 06:42

I've been looking at 2 old, yixing pots for sale in an antique shop in Chiangmai, Thailand. The connection to this thread is that I doubted their age because they did not smell. If I understand what I have read here, there is no reason for the pots have an odor.
The complicated story is: pots are > 50 years old, copying a style of > 100 years old.
A Chinese teapot collector looked at them w/ me, & said the story was plausible & that he did not know what kind of clay it was made of. He believed it was made in yixing.
Shopowner asking $100 per; I'm guessing she would take $60 per. The pots are pretty, nice & tiny, & pour through the single hole fine.
Tough decision & w/ my finances, a big gamble.
I don't take photos,but there is colorful decoration on the sides.
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Re: Antique/Vintage Tea and Tea Ware

Postby Tead Off » Feb 14th, '13, 08:24

ethan wrote:I've been looking at 2 old, yixing pots for sale in an antique shop in Chiangmai, Thailand. The connection to this thread is that I doubted their age because they did not smell. If I understand what I have read here, there is no reason for the pots have an odor.
The complicated story is: pots are > 50 years old, copying a style of > 100 years old.
A Chinese teapot collector looked at them w/ me, & said the story was plausible & that he did not know what kind of clay it was made of. He believed it was made in yixing.
Shopowner asking $100 per; I'm guessing she would take $60 per. The pots are pretty, nice & tiny, & pour through the single hole fine.
Tough decision & w/ my finances, a big gamble.
I don't take photos,but there is colorful decoration on the sides.

Many copies here in Thailand. Most people haven't a clue to age. The most common story is they come from Thai-Chinese families who have had them for many years and never used them. The more likely story is that they are made in the 90's or 2000's. Of course, there are exceptions but you are in gambling territory. My suggestion is that if you think they are Yixing and you like them, and the price is affordable to you, then go ahead and get 'em. If they are Yixing, you paid a reasonable price and if they are really 50 years, you got a bargain.
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Re: Antique/Vintage Tea and Tea Ware

Postby MarshalN » Feb 14th, '13, 10:13

At those prices they don't sound like a horrible deal, either way.
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Re: Antique/Vintage Tea and Tea Ware

Postby ethan » Feb 15th, '13, 23:52

Thanks. I feel comfortable buying, if she will come down to the $60 per pot. (I don't ask for a lower price unless I am ready to pay it.) If she does fine, if she doesn't fine.
Talking w/ her Monday, & will post results.
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Re: Antique/Vintage Tea and Tea Ware

Postby ethan » Feb 18th, '13, 10:21

I bought the teapots & will post photographs one day when someone will help me do it.
My $60 per pot offer was refused. I walked out, had lunch, had a rest, had a swim--So, I should have been a happy man without the pots,but I was not. I walked back w/ $150 in my pocket, & the shopowner took it.
No regrets at all. More Chinese tourists were in the shop (it is New Year's vacation week & they drive through MYanmar on the new highway). They examined the teapots. A few said, "Good clay, cannot buy now. No see same clay now." One lady said, "More than 40 years ol... Maybe old 50 years."
So, I am happy. Shipping them to myself tomorrow for my return in a month. Will report on how they perform after enough use.
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Re: Antique/Vintage Tea and Tea Ware

Postby AdamMY » Apr 4th, '13, 12:24

Posting this hoping it belongs here. I submit myself to the wolves that know far more than I do about antique porcelain cups. It claims to be from roughly 1750 but it seemed a bit arbitrary of a year assigned in the ebay post.

Image
Antique Porcelain Cup by Adam Yusko, on Flickr

Image
Antique Porcelain Cup (1) by Adam Yusko, on Flickr

Image
Antique Porcelain Cup (2) by Adam Yusko, on Flickr

It certainly doesn't feel like modern porcealin, and that is the foot after I did a heck of a lot of cleaning with boiling and bleach and scrubbing with a brush, as the foot gave the impression the piece was buried at one point in time.

Initial impressions, the feel could hint at an older piece, what throws me off is every old porcelain piece I have seen has had a lot more glaze around the foot, and had much more careful brush work. What is really throwing me is its more blue and gray instead of the stunning white often found with porcelain.
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Re: Antique/Vintage Tea and Tea Ware

Postby futurebird » Apr 4th, '13, 16:04

I like it, I doubt it's new... but I just don't trust ebay for dates. Did you chat with the seller?
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Re: Antique/Vintage Tea and Tea Ware

Postby MarshalN » Apr 11th, '13, 11:20

Something about the glaze makes it look newer than you think. I'll have to handle it to know if this is older or not.
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Re: Antique/Vintage Tea and Tea Ware

Postby Teaism » Apr 11th, '13, 11:44

It is hard to tell the age by the faded glaze. They can easily polish it off on a new glaze by using the granite polish powder, which is what they normally do.
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