Feb 6th 17 8:30 am
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On hoarding teaware…

by Bok » Feb 6th 17 8:30 am

…which is, I am sure, a subject a lot among you are familiar with :mrgreen:

Some recent posts and instagram pictures of large collections, as well as my personal experience, got me thinking about amassing so much teaware, especially pots.

I wonder if it is not detrimental to the brewing experience in the end? With let’s say a dozen or more of teapots any average person will run into trouble using each of them very often. How many sessions a day can one reasonably have, without damaging one’s health, wallet and work efficiency… :lol:

So one has no chance of getting intimately familiar with how one particular pot works. Master it, if you will. Knowing it so well that brewing the tea becomes natural,s omething you do not need to think about, no water drips where it is not supposed to, etc. – you get my meaning.
Not even speaking of acquiring a nice patina of a well used object for the Yixing aficionados amongst us…

On the other hand, skill can also be achieved by trying a wide variety of pots and shapes, but in my opinion that would last for a certain time, until you will eventually find the ideal set of shapes for everything you like to brew.

The joy of acquiring new things, and to get bored of the same old on the other hand, also come into consideration.

For me, I tend to hoard, but recently found myself down-sizing and coming back to the same few pots.

Just musing…

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Feb 6th 17 8:46 am
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Re: On hoarding teaware…

by kyarazen » Feb 6th 17 8:46 am

it is part of a process.. not a final state :) everyone comes with their own burdens and burdenlessness

there are some whom require ownership to achieve a certain emotional/mental state requirement of fulfilment, it often becomes an end state for them.. but for some others it can be part of a process

my previous hobbies include playing with vacumn tubes and hifi, the hobby probably burnt some nice five figured sums over the years, stupid cables that costs thousands.. changing speakers from big to small to medium to big to small and big again... and tube amplifiers from single ended to push pull back to dual parallel single ended.. to single ended ultra high voltage.... to transformers of regular EI core to R core to C core.. from crap metal to good irons.. to crystaline hitachi fine-mets... speakers from bookshelves to floor standers... to bipolar speakers to ribbon transducers.. to electrostatics.. back to dynamic drivers.. and down to single driver full range speakers and suddenly back to bookshelves again...this is not to include shuttling between digital media, compact discs and analogue LPs etc.. although i have tone downed on the hobby by over 95% at the moment... the journey was fun.. not only enjoying the music, but also to be able to discern and chase down differences (and not deciding that perfection has been achieved because there may never be one)...

so the same for tea ware.. :) i did have a lot.. i probably think i still have a lot.. but the attachment's declining. if anyone likes any of my pots and make a reasonable offer (rather than low balling), even if the pot is rare and took me over a year to locate a piece or a pair.. i'm not as attached anymore :P i've enjoyed the journey.. but still think there's no end state or perfection.

Feb 6th 17 10:10 am
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Re: On hoarding teaware…

by Bok » Feb 6th 17 10:10 am

True, the journey is part of the process. Well said.

I guess it is also quite a feature to resist the temptation to buy beautiful pieces of craftsmanship, especially when one is inclined to appreciate nice things. I have to stop myself so many times, asking myself do I really need that teapot, is it sufficiently special and well made that it has something the others do not have? :mrgreen:

On the other hand I see my favorite tea supplier, who has been using the same three pots in his shop forever. There is a beauty in how he handles those pots, completely natural, without looking, knowing his pots.

I admit, I could never restrict myself to so few… too many beautiful things around. Doesn’t help that I also made my own pots…

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Re: On hoarding teaware…

by jayinhk » Feb 6th 17 10:20 am

In my case I see good vintage teaware as an investment. You can't go back in time and get more old stuff!

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Re: On hoarding teaware…

by theredbaron » Feb 6th 17 10:34 am

Over the years or decades a collection of pots just grows, naturally.
One may get better pots, over time, or a particular pot that fills a niche. I think i have maybe two dozen pots i use regularly, and many more i would not mind giving away. A couple of pots for Japanese green tea. Lots of Yixing pots for different teas (such as for aged Pu Erh's, Yanchas, rolled Ooolongs, Liu Baos, etc), some for drinking alone, some for drinking with people.
I see myself as a user, not really a collector, who collects by artistic merits, age, rarity, etc. I want the best possible pots to enjoy tea i can afford (which is nowadays, in case of Yixing, almost impossible, and i feel myself lucky that i started 25 or so years ago).

But "hoarding" is something different. That is what many Taiwanese and SEAsians did 20 to 30 years ago - emptying markets and buying up large caches of hundreds, if not thousands of pots, driving the price up and releasing these pots in small patches to the market to maximize profit for their investments.

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Feb 6th 17 10:35 am
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Re: On hoarding teaware…

by kyarazen » Feb 6th 17 10:35 am

Bok wrote:True, the journey is part of the process. Well said.

I guess it is also quite a feature to resist the temptation to buy beautiful pieces of craftsmanship, especially when one is inclined to appreciate nice things. I have to stop myself so many times, asking myself do I really need that teapot, is it sufficiently special and well made that it has something the others do not have? :mrgreen:

On the other hand I see my favorite tea supplier, who has been using the same three pots in his shop forever. There is a beauty in how he handles those pots, completely natural, without looking, knowing his pots.

I admit, I could never restrict myself to so few… too many beautiful things around. Doesn’t help that I also made my own pots…
:D when we buy/use pots.. its always just for the moment.. in usage when you decide that the performance is right.. or the experience is good.. awe and satisfaction..

or when not using it.. just by studying it... gazing upon the material.. the workmanship.. the era.. and feel that it is a "snapshot" of a certain moment of inner peace, satisfaction.. these are the moments that often spur purchases.. or at least the expectation of such a moment to be achievable pushes one to procure

i too cannot restrict myself sometimes.. and i also would like to make my own pots :D but being too busy at the moment.. perhaps i'll soon borrow the hands of another person and get him to make what i want.. :P

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Feb 6th 17 10:37 am
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Re: On hoarding teaware…

by kyarazen » Feb 6th 17 10:37 am

jayinhk wrote:In my case I see good vintage teaware as an investment. You can't go back in time and get more old stuff!
to some, the glee of a "deal" or a "steal" is part of the enjoyment of the hobby :)

and then the feeling of owning/using something that others dont have.. breeds the superiority complex.. which also gives enjoyment! :D

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Re: On hoarding teaware…

by jayinhk » Feb 6th 17 1:18 pm

kyarazen wrote:
jayinhk wrote:In my case I see good vintage teaware as an investment. You can't go back in time and get more old stuff!
to some, the glee of a "deal" or a "steal" is part of the enjoyment of the hobby :)

and then the feeling of owning/using something that others dont have.. breeds the superiority complex.. which also gives enjoyment! :D
I definitely enjoy both of those aspects of the hobby. :D And I'm only using beginner-level Factory pots, really!

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Re: On hoarding teaware…

by victoria3 » Feb 7th 17 12:02 am

For me it has been a process. I started the collecting wormhole after a Japanese auction where I acquired what would be the bulk of my collection for a few years, 5 teapots. The art of the deal, scoring quality items for a steal, becoming the steward of pieces of history that I could hold and use, all factored in to my eventually getting more pieces over the years. But more significantly, collecting has increased my enjoyment of tea, adding layers and depth to the experience.

Quality pieces refine tea sessions to new levels, elevating the sensory experience. As one example, this came to the forefront for me this past year after acquiring 19th C porcelain cups by Seifu Yohei IV. The cups are perfectly proportioned and balanced to the hand, with walls light enough to cool off the tea perfectly. The glaze is like nothing I've ever experienced, gliding the tea off like silk. All five senses are elevated and brought into the foreground, raising consciousness of each along the way.

Each pieces teaches me something and opens up new venues of inquiry. The story behind those first 5 teapots is still unfolding even ​after 11 years​.
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Re: On hoarding teaware…

by JRS22 » Feb 7th 17 9:14 pm

I developed TAD a few years after beginning to hang out at Teachat but I've managed to avoid the strain that involves collecting yixing pots. I purchase artisanal teaware that is as functional as its beautiful. Some pots perform especially well with specific favorite teas and I reserve those for use with those teas. Others I use based on size and mood and category of tea. The same way that I don't wear the same color shirt every day I don't feel like using the same pot or cup every day. Anyway that's what I tell visitors who own more clothing and fewer items of teaware than I do.

This set was languishing in a corner of the teaware cabinet so I put it back into rotation with a tea sample from Hojo. It's a hobin and matching cup from Hong Seong-Il.
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Feb 11th 17 1:44 pm
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Re: On hoarding teaware…

by NPE » Feb 11th 17 1:44 pm

Well, I guess I am also one of the people who would have a reason to go to TAD Anonymous :lol:
And yes, I have just recently started posting on instagram, showing just the tippiest tip of the iceberg, so maybe I am one of the people who inspired your post (ok, I might be flattering myself here a bit... :oops: ).

For me there are several reasons for collecting teaware:
1. I have always collected the things that I really like. Eventually I will slow down or maybe even stop, but I do know that even though I am not actively buying anymore, I will still get intense enjoyment from the beautiful things that I have managed to collect.
2. This might be the most important thing: Growing up and living in Europe, there is simply no way of finding out which teapot / gaiwan / teacup / teaboat etc is 'the right one' until I have bought it. Trying out without buying is simply not an option because there is no place to do that. So the only way for me was to hop on the internet and buy different teapots (etc.) and try which one suits me and my needs the best. Invariably that has led to quite some teaware being collected. On the plus side: I now know much better what I like & what I am looking for... and also what I do NOT like. Bascially when I started with gong-fu cha, asking me to pick the 'perfect teapot' would have been pretty much like me dragging my grandma into a Japanese restaurant and asking her to pick the perfect meal. You only know what (dis-)like once you have tried it. Now I know which of my pots suit me best, and I will gravitate more to using them - which will (I hope) in the end lead to me reaching that stage where I become intimately familiar with how these pots work, what their strengths and weaknesses are. It just took me a bit longer than someone who has a background (family / culture) of gong-fu cha. Admittedly a lot op 'tuition money' was spend on the way, but overall it has been a very enjoyable way. :D

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Re: On hoarding teaware…

by ethan » Feb 11th 17 3:48 pm

Bok wrote:

So one has no chance of getting intimately familiar with how one particular pot works. Master it, if you will. Knowing it so well that brewing the tea becomes natural,s omething you do not need to think about, no water drips where it is not supposed to, etc. – you get my meaning.
Bok, I think you make sense. The lack of repetitive use of a hoard of teaware = the loss of the pleasure of familiarity Using a few pieces regularly, drinking some teas regularly, etc. can lead to mastering teaware & teas as well as ourselves perhaps.

A reality television show about hoarders portrays poor & somewhat poor people overwhelmed by junk that makes their homes inhabitable & lives unmanageable. They are mentally ill needing the intervention of family & friends. Rich people who keep amassing $ & or possessions in quantities beyond what they would ever put to use or can even think of using are admired as investors or admirable collectors.

I imagine that some heirs of people who have amassed collections of yixing or pu-erh etc. will also not put the teapots & tea to good use.

For me, if teaware is not being used or viewed w/ pleasure, it is being wasted.

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Re: On hoarding teaware…

by Bok » Feb 13th 17 8:46 am

ethan wrote: For me, if teaware is not being used or viewed w/ pleasure, it is being wasted.
Anything really, that is not used!
Quite interesting your comparison with collectors and hoarders, never thought about that, but you make total sense there…
Something to ponder.

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Re: On hoarding teaware…

by jayinhk » Feb 13th 17 9:19 am

Hoarders aren't always poor...they just have dangerous amounts of stuff that can topple over and kill them! lol. I've thought I might be a hoarder at times, but I'm nowhere near that bad. Good point re: having stuff that doesn't get used and gets forgotten about. Time to liquidate some of my knife collection as I have far too many and many of them will rust in storage!

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Re: On hoarding teaware…

by Bok » Feb 14th 17 2:48 am

On the subject, head over to teaism’s instagram, just posted a friends collection… h u g e !
A real shame to see them crowded like this, one can neither appreciate the workmanship nor are the majority of them ever going to see real use.

Makes me think, there must be the perfect teapot for each and every tea aficionado among us, they are just like money, unequally distributed :mrgreen: