- by vinux
This tea set includes an old iron pot and four cups. The pot has a long history, with a unique shape and mellow texture. It is perfect for brewing tea and making a pleasant atmosphere. Enjoy a peaceful moment with the old iron pot.
An old man in Shenyang likes to use iron teapot to make tea, and has collected many iron teapots which attract people’s attention. Generally, teaware is made of ceramic and porcelain.
The old-style teapot arose along with Pu’er Tea.
Wang Liang, a tea lover from Shenyang and a collector of teapots, drew the attention of reporters when they saw his collection of many teapots, particularly the various antique Japanese ones.
Wang Liang started talking about his story of being connected with an old iron teapot when he said “Old iron teapots can be considered a wonderful ancient tool that combines using, aesthetics and collecting. A few years ago, I was very obsessed with Pu’er tea. Pu’er tea has high requirements for water temperature, so someone suggested that I look for an old iron pot.”
Nowadays, the teapot made of iron has become an indispensable tool for making tea. The water boiled with this pot can release divalent iron ions, forming spring effect and making its taste thick, full and smooth. Drinking this water can effectively remove the musty smell of tea, hence improving its flavor. Furthermore, drinking water boiled in such pot also has health benefits. When heated, the pot will release a large amount of divalent iron which can combine with tannic acid, tea polyphenol in tea to supplement the required iron element for human body.
Iron kettles can improve the water temperature and have strong heat storage capacity. Generally, boiling water with an iron kettle can reach 97℃ or even above 100℃, while a general stainless steel hand-brewed tea can only reach 93℃. High temperature can fully soften the water quality, especially suitable for making old tea or boiling tea. Especially for Pu’er old tea, because Pu’er can only use high-temperature water to fully bring out its inner fragrance and the charm of tea, stimulate and enhance the aroma of tea. With the popularity of Pu’er Tea, iron kettles also arose accordingly.
The teapot, known as “lao-tie-hu” in Chinese, originated from the Japanese tea ceremony.
It is difficult to determine the exact year for the origin of Japanese tetsubin, according to Wang Liang. However, its origin cannot be separated from the Japanese tea ceremony. The Japanese tea ceremony originated in China’s Tang Dynasty, when envoys were sent to the Great Tang Dynasty and Chinese tea was brought back to Japan for cultivation. Chinese tea culture spread in Japan and formed a tea ceremony with Japanese characteristics. In the Japanese tea ceremony, tetsubin is essential. The value of tetsubin varies depending on the reputation and skills of its maker. Wang Liang said that understanding Japanese tetsubin involves knowing about “tang-hao”, or workshops/companies, and “fushi”, which are equivalent to famous potmakers as in China’s zisha-style teapots. The tang-hao is equivalent to today’s workshop or company; the master of tang corresponds to the chairman of the company; and famous fushi are equivalent to famous zisha potmakers in China.
Two famous tōgō (Japanese traditional ironware) are the Kamei and Ryōmi tōgō. Among them, Ryōmi tōgō was the first tōgō to use de-waxing for casting in the history of Japanese ironware, making it an important figure in the history of antique ironware. The method of de-wax casting involves forming a mold out of a model and template. After casting is complete, it is necessary to break the mold to retrieve the product from it; one model and one product are created, making them unique.
Generally, the material of a teapot is made of cast iron, but most of its lid is made of copper. Since the iron lid will corrode easily after being steamed, copper is used to make the lid. Among the materials for making lids, there is one kind that is made by melting seven kinds of metals together.
The lid of a kettle made of car, commonly known as “Seven Treasures Copper Lid”.
In the old iron kettle, there is also a silver kettle. The body of the kettle is silver in color, and it is decorated with even, regular and delicate dot patterns on the top. Wang Liang said that in Japanese tea ceremony, there are many kinds of silver kettles and copper kettles, even exaggerated pure gold kettles. Now people generally use old silver kettles and iron kettles. “As for pure gold kettles, each kettle weighs up to several hundred grams of gold, if used to boil water it seems too luxurious, it is still better to use for appreciation.”
Old iron pot full of Chinese style
Wang Liang said that at first he got an old iron pot with a large “Fu” character and several bat patterns, with a circle of auspicious patterns at the mouth of the pot. It was a pot with a very “Chinese” look. Although this pot now looks like an ordinary one in the pot, it really excited him at that time. Later, when a friend got 28 old iron pots in his hand, Wang Liang put the “Fu” word pot aside.
Due to the deep influence of Chinese culture, there are traces of Chinese calligraphy and painting and tea culture in many Japanese old iron teapots. Many old iron teapots have poems or famous sayings cast on their bodies. The landscape and bird-and-flower patterns on the body of the old iron teapot are like a relief Chinese painting. The name of Tang Dynasty and the name of furnace master inscribed on the body or lid of the teapot are also written in Chinese characters.
Wang Liang picked up the pot and said, “Look at this pot.” On one side of the pot there were two ripe persimmons and on the other side was a Ru-Yi pattern. Wang Liang said that these patterns express the wish of “persimmon (things) persimmon (things) as desired”. Seeing this pot, people would feel it is truly very “Chinese style”.
The iron kettles of Guiwen Hall are highly aesthetic, with patterns on the body like Lake Scene in Spring, a small bridge with flowing water, a fisherman fishing alone, a woodcutter crossing a bridge, frogs playing in the wind and bamboo, crabs playing among orchids, beasts exhaling mist, reeds dancing with cranes, pavilions on Fairy Mountain, plum blossoms and orchids and bamboos and chrysanthemums as well as the traditional Three Friends of Winter. If these kettles are arranged in line for appreciation, it would be like visiting a bas-relief style Chinese landscape painting exhibition.
The auction price of the iron teapot has approached one million.
Iron teapots in Japan can be traced back to the Edo period, which is hundreds of years ago. In the past century or two, iron teapots were very popular in Japan. Almost every household had an iron teapot and beautifully crafted iron teapots were often given as gifts to family and friends. “However, during World War II, old iron teapots were severely damaged and now there are very few old ones left,” said Huang Gensheng, an old iron teapot collector. At first he noticed that the quality of pu’er tea brewed with an old iron teapot was particularly good due to his work, so he later became obsessed with it. His first old iron teapot was bought at Dalian Antique City for 2000 yuan.
Speaking of the collection market of old iron teapots, Huang Gensheng believes that not all old iron teapots are rising so sharply. In 2005, ordinary old iron teapots were generally one thousand yuan each, and fine ones were tens of thousands. Nowadays, the ordinary old iron teapots that cost one thousand yuan have risen to four or five thousand yuan, and fine old iron teapots have risen to hundreds of thousands. The rise in price of ordinary teapots is 4-5 times, while that of fine teapots has reached dozens of times. The more exquisite the pot is, the greater its appreciation space. At present, some high-end old copper pots with gold inlay and silver inlay have already reached hundreds of thousands yuan in value, and some masterpieces of famous potters even reach millions. At the end of 2009, a “Baochuan Heshou Iron Pot” made by Japan’s “Xiangyun Temple” was sold for 350,000 yuan at Jia De Auction House. In 2010, a “Lanyaju Sheng – Carving Lotus Tu Cuojin Chrysanthemum Liang Kouqu Stone Pickup Button Iron Pot” made by Daguo Shoulang was sold for 952000 at Xiling Autumn Auction, becoming the most expensive Japanese antique iron pot currently. The involvement of major auction companies has played a role in boosting the prices of pots.
Huang Gen-sheng said, “In Beijing, sellers set the price and buyers generally do not bargain, they must add more money to buy it. In Shenyang, buyers usually bargain.” Regionally speaking, old-style teapots are more sought after in Beijing and Dalian than in Shenyang.
In recent years, people have been pursuing a higher quality of life, thereby catalyzing more and more tea-lovers and collectors of iron kettles. “The irreplaceability and rarity of old iron kettles determine that they will definitely have great appreciation potential,” said Wang Liang.
Due to the recent increase in prices of old iron kettles in the past two years, a few people who are only looking for profits started to fake them, although it is just beginning. According to Wang Liang, collecting old iron kettles must do enough homework from historical, cultural, aesthetic and functional perspectives, such as type and material. In this way, one can collect the desired iron kettle and ensure a great appreciation space in the future.