Benshan lv ni Chrysanthemum Yixing pot
Yixing teapots are great for tea, but modern Yixing clay processing methods involve the use of chemical additives and the reliance on machines such as Raymond mills that can reduce the natural porosity of the clay. These techniques make the production of teapots faster and more economical, allowing to skip labor-intensive manual processes. However, they also alter the finished product. As a consequence, many experienced tea drinkers prefer to use antique teapots, like pre-1977 Factory 1 teapots, and teapots made during the Republic of China period (ROC) or earlier. Unfortunately, antique teapots are very limited in supply and are usually expensive.
Over the past year and a half, we asked ourselves: wouldn’t it be great if we could make available newly made teapots that have been made using clay processed without chemical additives and ground with a traditional stone mill? We were lucky to encounter like-minded collaborators, thanks to whom we have been able to commission a series of Yixing teapots according to these requirements.
We celebrate this result by first making available something quite special: a benshan lv ni (本山綠泥) teapot in chrysanthemum shape. Benshan lv ni clay is appreciated for its jade like, yellow-whitish color. This clay is quite rare: the most “accessible” antique exemplar in the market is the 1960s dragon egg produced by Factory 1, and it can cost upwards of $1,500. The chrysanthemum shape was chosen as it was a frequently used shape for benshan lv ni teapots produced during the Qing dynasty. As this shape is technically very challenging to realize, this teapot is made with the assistance of a mould. Each pot comes with a report of the results of an analysis of the chemical composition of the fired pot.