Puzzled wannabe Yixing buyer

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swordofmytriumph
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Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:14 am

Bok wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:13 am
swordofmytriumph vintage does not need to be more expensive. If you check out Emmet‘s offers, they are quite often under 200$, which is not more than what you’d pay for a decent new Yixing.
Thanks!
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OCTO
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Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:33 am

Bok wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 10:13 am
swordofmytriumph vintage does not need to be more expensive. If you check out Emmet‘s offers for example, they are quite often under 200$, which is not more than what you’d pay for a decent new Yixing.
👍🏻👍🏻
faj
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Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:16 am

swordofmytriumph wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:46 am
Well, several of us have bought from them before and been very happy
You are right @swordofmytriumph, and I did see a few very positive mentions about their porcelain products, which I forgot to mention. I was only referring to Yixing in my comment.
swordofmytriumph wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:46 am
By the way faj, I would say the reason nobody on the forum has bought yixing from them until now is because most everyone on this forum will only buy vintage as a rule, or are more into Japanese teapots.
I am surprised that you have at one end people who swear by vintage Yixing only, and at the other end people who skip both "vintage" and "Yixing" and go right to modern Japanese. Can you explain to me why so few people seem to fall in the middle (modern Yixing)? Is it because quality modern Japanese teapots are more plentiful or easier to purchasein the West?
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Youzi
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Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:20 am

faj wrote: This is a recurring theme : many people recommend M&L, but I think I have yet to read about one single actual customer of theirs. I too have emailed Patrick, and my experience mirrors yours. Between that and their website, they seem to be talking the talk, I agree.
I recommend M&L, because if I'd get into the Yixing I'd definitely start with them. Just by the pictures, their clay looks better than most of the current offerings on the Western market, except for maybe Chanting Pines. 🤔

However, in my current state, I already moved on to sourcing directly from Yixing and support the younger generation who still care about their clay, and not just sales numbers.

I hope the hundreds of years of tradition can continue, and the only way to make it possible is by supporting the next generation. This world is a capitalist democracy, and you vote with your money. If no-one wants the buy good quality, traditionally made Yixing teapots, then there'll only be fakes left, for the future.
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Youzi
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Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:30 am

faj wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:16 am
I am surprised that you have at one end people who swear by vintage Yixing only, and at the other end people who skip both "vintage" and "Yixing" and go right to modern Japanese. Can you explain to me why so few people seem to fall in the middle (modern Yixing)? Is it because quality modern Japanese teapots are more plentiful or easier to purchasein the West?
The question is not directed to me, but what I see, on the market is that most of the good modern Yixing stays in China. And most Western vendors, who don't specialize in teaware or want a margin around 100% at least, and when the minimum Chinese retail price is 150$ and they can't buy at wholesale from the potter, not much people will pay 250-300 for a pot in the west.

There are much better margins in Vintage Yixing which were exported by the millions and sold for a $ or less in the Chinese diaspora in the last 60 years.
faj
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Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:58 am

Youzi wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:20 am
However, in my current state, I already moved on to sourcing directly from Yixing and support the younger generation who still care about their clay, and not just sales numbers.

I hope the hundreds of years of tradition can continue, and the only way to make it possible is by supporting the next generation. This world is a capitalist democracy, and you vote with your money. If no-one wants the buy good quality, traditionally made Yixing teapots, then there'll only be fakes left, for the future.
This is absolutely true.

I have read many times that all the best clay is "extinct". This is a very sad point of view, because it means the best pots have all been made, and an increasing population of amateurs will have to live with a dwindling supply of good teapots. It is sad, and it seems totally implausible to me.

While some high-quality clay mines may have ceased their operations or been depleted, and there might have been a tendency for quality to deteriorate in some time periods in Yixing, one must realize clay is really, really abundant on earth. There is no doubt in my mind the best clay is still underground, and the high economic value of good clay (probably higher than at any point in history) warrants its discovery and extraction, both near Yixing and elsewhere. Teapot making ultimately requires very little material in the grand scheme of things compared to other uses of mineral resources.

I cannot see any reason the market would "run out" of good clay for teapot making, as long as people are willing to pay a decent amount of money and demand quality clay from potters. This is a bit like saying the market has run out of new good works of art because all the best art humankind had to offer is behind us. The fact collectors are willing to pay so much for vintage works of arts by famous artists does not mean no quality art pieces are being made today.

This does not mean all modern clay teapots are good. But I would be hopeful that there are a a great many fabulous quality products left to be produced by humankind.
faj
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Mon Oct 21, 2019 12:04 pm

Youzi wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:30 am
Most Western vendors, who don't specialize in teaware or want a margin around 100% at least, and when the minimum Chinese retail price is 150$ and they can't buy at wholesale from the potter, not much people will pay 250-300 for a pot in the west.
There are much better margins in Vintage Yixing which were exported by the millions and sold for a $ or less in the Chinese diaspora in the last 60 years.
That makes sense in terms of people going for (entry-level) vintage rather than modern Yixing. However, it is not clear to me why this does not seem to apply to Japanese teapots to the same extent. Is that the wholesale price is more favorable to retailers for decent quality Japanese teaware than for Yixing? Is there a greater tendency of Japanese retailers to export to the West?
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Baisao
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Mon Oct 21, 2019 12:32 pm

faj wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:16 am
I am surprised that you have at one end people who swear by vintage Yixing only, and at the other end people who skip both "vintage" and "Yixing" and go right to modern Japanese. Can you explain to me why so few people seem to fall in the middle (modern Yixing)? Is it because quality modern Japanese teapots are more plentiful or easier to purchasein the West?
Generally speaking...

The provenance of Japanese teapots is more certain. The potter's marks are more codified, the teapots come with multiple accessories that have signatures and hanko that can be verified, sometimes, by the families of these potters. Japanese teapots are not often faked (unlike chawan). Each potter is encouraged to develop their own style, so you can immediately look at a Japanese teapot and know who it is who built it and maybe who they studied with. To my knowledge none of this is available with Yixing teapots.

The provenance of Yixing teapots is much less certain. We have a culture of copying masters and placing the master's potter marks on them in homage and sometimes fraud. There are few if any accessories to accompany older teapots and help establish a provenance. Users are encourage to copy masters rather than develop their own style. There's been an unfortunate history of adding additives to clays and this has tainted the modern market as it is assumed that all new clays are bad or toxic. Yixing teapots are more desirable than Japanese teapots so there's a flood of knockoffs. Yixing is murky and even famous auction houses get them wrong.

Add to this that a lot of us also drink Japanese teas. It makes sense to have Japanese teapots in our collections since they are ideal in build for Japanese teas. Contrary to others, I do not use my Japanese teapots for Chinese teas. The sizes are generally incorrect for them and it's easier to use an Yixing/Chaozhuo/Yingge teapot that was purpose built for Chinese teas.
faj
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Mon Oct 21, 2019 1:02 pm

Baisao wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 12:32 pm
The provenance of Japanese teapots is more certain. The potter's marks are more codified, the teapots come with multiple accessories that have signatures and hanko that can be verified, sometimes, by the families of these potters. Japanese teapots are not often faked (unlike chawan). Each potter is encouraged to develop their own style, so you can immediately look at a Japanese teapot and know who it is who built it and maybe who they studied with.
So, to reformulate a bit and check if I understand properly, buyers who care about "authenticity/quality/traceability" above "vintage" are more inclined to purchase modern Japanease teaware than modern Yixing. Thanks a lot @Baisao for the explanation , that makes sense.

I have myself been surprised to witness the dynamic you describe at work. I purchased one Tokoname kyusu (the only clay pot I own at this time) from the tea shop I usually order tea from, and while browsing on other online shops afterward, I was surprised to see how easy it was to spot other works by the same potter even though they were quite different from the 10 or so on sale at my usual tea shop, and even though the pictures were minuscule on these other websites. I have seen a couple of other examples of the same thing in these forums for at least two other Japanese potters that have works on sale there too.
Baisao wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 12:32 pm
Contrary to others, I do not use my Japanese teapots for Chinese teas. The sizes are generally incorrect for them and it's easier to use an Yixing/Chaozhuo/Yingge teapot that was purpose built for Chinese teas.
If I remember correctly, you recommended something in the 80ml to 100ml for Yixing. Do you recommend bigger pots for Japanease tea, or is it more a matter of shape rather than volume that make them different to you?
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Youzi
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Mon Oct 21, 2019 2:24 pm

faj wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:58 am
Youzi wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 11:20 am
However, in my current state, I already moved on to sourcing directly from Yixing and support the younger generation who still care about their clay, and not just sales numbers.

I hope the hundreds of years of tradition can continue, and the only way to make it possible is by supporting the next generation. This world is a capitalist democracy, and you vote with your money. If no-one wants the buy good quality, traditionally made Yixing teapots, then there'll only be fakes left, for the future.
This is absolutely true.

I have read many times that all the best clay is "extinct". This is a very sad point of view, because it means the best pots have all been made, and an increasing population of amateurs will have to live with a dwindling supply of good teapots. It is sad, and it seems totally implausible to me.

While some high-quality clay mines may have ceased their operations or been depleted, and there might have been a tendency for quality to deteriorate in some time periods in Yixing, one must realize clay is really, really abundant on earth. There is no doubt in my mind the best clay is still underground, and the high economic value of good clay (probably higher than at any point in history) warrants its discovery and extraction, both near Yixing and elsewhere. Teapot making ultimately requires very little material in the grand scheme of things compared to other uses of mineral resources.

I cannot see any reason the market would "run out" of good clay for teapot making, as long as people are willing to pay a decent amount of money and demand quality clay from potters. This is a bit like saying the market has run out of new good works of art because all the best art humankind had to offer is behind us. The fact collectors are willing to pay so much for vintage works of arts by famous artists does not mean no quality art pieces are being made today.

This does not mean all modern clay teapots are good. But I would be hopeful that there are a a great many fabulous quality products left to be produced by humankind.
Clay is not extinct there is many good clay still in Yixing, and the old mines are not depleted either, but they are closed off by the government and closely guarded with walls security cameras, and any illegal mining will get you in jail no time... Unless you have friends in the right places ;) (check my detailed answer in my another post)

There's also new kinds of clay found which haven't been known about, like Jiangponi and another clay, which I won't mention here... :D

But It's true that the damage F1 did to Yixing traditions and clay supply is horrible... (they mined around 70 000 TONNES of Zisha EVERY YEAR for 40 Years) and they used all those precious clay for subpar teapots sold for a $... :(
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Baisao
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Mon Oct 21, 2019 2:36 pm

faj wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 1:02 pm
If I remember correctly, you recommended something in the 80ml to 100ml for Yixing. Do you recommend bigger pots for Japanease tea, or is it more a matter of shape rather than volume that make them different to you?
Most Japanese leaf teas use a different brewing method than Chinese teas: low heat, not filled to the brim with hot water, dry pour. As such, there is no need for a teapot that fits the volume for what you are preparing. I frequently use 200ml kyusus to make 70 ml of sencha.

Gyokuro and boiled teas are different. Gyokuro should be fit to size and boiled teas are just an entirely different class.

In short, kyusu work well in large-ish volumes, barring extremes,
swordofmytriumph
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Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:38 pm

Baisao wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 12:32 pm
The provenance of Japanese teapots is more certain. The potter's marks are more codified, the teapots come with multiple accessories that have signatures and hanko that can be verified, sometimes, by the families of these potters. Japanese teapots are not often faked (unlike chawan). Each potter is encouraged to develop their own style, so you can immediately look at a Japanese teapot and know who it is who built it and maybe who they studied with. To my knowledge none of this is available with Yixing teapots.

The provenance of Yixing teapots is much less certain. We have a culture of copying masters and placing the master's potter marks on them in homage and sometimes fraud. There are few if any accessories to accompany older teapots and help establish a provenance. Users are encourage to copy masters rather than develop their own style. There's been an unfortunate history of adding additives to clays and this has tainted the modern market as it is assumed that all new clays are bad or toxic. Yixing teapots are more desirable than Japanese teapots so there's a flood of knockoffs. Yixing is murky and even famous auction houses get them wrong.

Add to this that a lot of us also drink Japanese teas. It makes sense to have Japanese teapots in our collections since they are ideal in build for Japanese teas. Contrary to others, I do not use my Japanese teapots for Chinese teas. The sizes are generally incorrect for them and it's easier to use an Yixing/Chaozhuo/Yingge teapot that was purpose built for Chinese teas.
+1
When I buy a Japanese teapot, I know what I’m getting. Plus, all of my Japanese pots come from Hojo, and he is OBSESSIVE about formulating the perfect clays that will affect tea advantageously. I know that real effort has been put into the process, and that the end goal is a tastier cup of tea. His blog posts even include information and, in some cases, pictures of where the clay came from. I can’t get any of that with yixing.

That said, I do use my Japanese pots for Chinese tea to excellent effect. In fact, none of my kyusu are actually paired with Japanese tea. :lol: I do have smaller sizes though (small for kyusu anyway) so there is that as well.
faj
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Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:57 pm

Thanks @Baisao
Baisao wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 2:36 pm
Most Japanese leaf teas use a different brewing method than Chinese teas: low heat, not filled to the brim with hot water, dry pour.
Sorry for my ignorance, maybe it has to do with the language barrier (mine), but what do you mean by "dry pour"?
Baisao wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 2:36 pm
In short, kyusu work well in large-ish volumes, barring extremes,
Ok. I assume infusing Japanese tea in a teapot filled with water would not be an issue either, just not a requirement for proper results.
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Bok
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Mon Oct 21, 2019 7:39 pm

For me I consciously skip the modern Yixing segment due to another reason (clay question aside): most seem a bit soulless to me, too perfect and often only repeating the same styles all over again.

In modern Japanes pots I can see traces of the artisan and the fire itself. Imperfections are not only let be, sometimes even sought after. That makes them alive to me. They have more character.

There is a tiny segment of young Yixing and Chaozhou artists which keeps popping up on social media, who create more interesting things, but I have not see them available for Westerners yet. Maybe also because some request that sort of “old school Chinese looking” stuff?

So for Yixing I also mostly skip the mass produced factory vintage stuff and go for the pre factory, because there you still see the hand and traces of the artisan. The clays and the multitude of blends also do seem (might be wishful thinking) alive to me. Another reason to go for something already made a long time ago is that new resources are not wasted (also not indirectly destroying more land to mine them) and no further pollution due to smoke and other particles in the air takes place. Most things from China where produced in the millions, plenty to go around...
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Bok
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Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:31 pm

Youzi wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 2:24 pm
But It's true that the damage F1 did to Yixing traditions and clay supply is horrible... (they mined around 70 000 TONNES of Zisha EVERY YEAR for 40 Years) and they used all those precious clay for subpar teapots sold for a $... :(
That is some very refreshing point of view on F1!
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